We often take for granted how easy it is to find the information we’re looking for in today’s technologically advanced world. It’s so simple to open an internet browser, and just “Google” it. Unfortunately for many hospitals and healthcare organizations, the act of searching and finding policies can be very cumbersome.
From our years of experience working with healthcare facilities, we have seen it all when it comes to searching for documents. From flipping through hard copy pages of a file folder filled with policies, to navigating an endless number of folders on a shared drive to track down the right document. This can have a significant impact on the quality of healthcare that’s being delivered by hospital staff members and why it may be time to start evaluating your policy management software and its search functionality.
From our studies, it can take anywhere from 5 – 20 minutes for a staff member to locate a policy using these older, more traditional methods. This means that instead of having the policy or procedure information quickly at their fingertips, staff members are spending a significant amount of time just trying to find the right document. That’s why search functionality is so important when it comes to policy management software.
Here’s three ways front-line staff are able to search for policies that they may not have been able to without the advanced search functionality:
1. Google-like search functionality – Simply type in any keyword into the search bar located on the home page and a list of results will be displayed. The display of the results is also an important aspect of the search – applications such as the PolicyManager™ system allow you to view not only the title of the policy, but also the Folder Location as well as a brief description from within the document itself. This allows staff to easily access the document they are looking for without having to know the exact policy name or policy number.
2. Advanced Search feature – for those who need to narrow down search results, the advanced search functionality feature allows you to select from a number of items (such as Folder, Title, etc) to focus your search results and get really specific. The benefit of this is that you know where something is and can find it that much faster without scrolling through a lot of documents within the policy management software to get to what you need.
3. Searching by Folder Structure – for staff members who are familiar with going to a file folder or manual and finding a document, many advanced systems include the ability for users to click into a folder structure (for PolicyManager™ users, this is also referred to as the Policy Library or Document Tree). Staff can then select the folder or department they are looking for and view all of the documents in that folder.
It’s important to note that when your staff are searching and viewing policies, it’s critical to ensure that they’re always accessing the most recent or updated versions of the policy. If nurses are reading out-dated policies, this could impact how they are treating patients and potentially cause serious litigation issues, as they may be referring to information that is no longer in effect. Having an advanced search function within your policy management software program allows healthcare workers to more readily access relevant and up-to-date information. Whereas, sifting through documents by hand or scrolling through document files can leave a lot of room for error.
Visuals also play a large part in search functionality. Using PolicyManager™ as an example: the homepage provides a web-based centralized location for hospital staff to easily access all policies, procedures, and related documents. Large colorful tabs and clearly identified search areas make a difference when looking to find things fast. Having an organized and color-coordinated system with large lettering allows staff members (even ones without 20/20 vision) to quickly identify New Policies, Updated Policies, and documents that require Attestation.
Many times it comes down to not knowing what you’re getting yourself into. Many of our customers have come back to us and said “If only I had known then what I know now.” They can’t imagine going back to the old ways of looking up policies and wish they had made an upgrade sooner.
If you’re thinking of making a change but don’t know where to start, shoot us an email, we’d be more than happy to field any questions you have. Regardless if you want to use our product or not, we’re here to help. We want to help you make an educated decision you’ll be happy with. And if you’re curious about PolicyMedical’s signature system, PolicyManager™, we can help with that too. Simply sign up for a free no obligation demo and you’ll get to see what the application looks like and how you can use it to its fullest potential.
PolicyMedical, based in North Toronto, specializes in policy and document management software designed specifically for the healthcare industry. Their signature policy management software application, PolicyManager™, has been implemented and is currently being utilized by over 1,500 healthcare organizations and hospitals throughout the United States and Canada.