Every healthcare provider is being stretched in terms of their resources and is thus always looking for ways to save time. The truth is that using policy management software is not the magic time saver you might think it might be. Having been involved in policy management software for 15 years and living at times a little too much in the policy management software bubble, I catch myself thinking that “of course policy management software will save customers tons of time”.
If I were to say this to you it would not be 100% accurate. I am preparing to visit a client that has fully set-up and launched our policy management system and has asked me the following question: “…now that we have this policy management system up and running how long will it take my policy administrator to manage this software on top of her normal work?”. See our article The Best Way to Hire a Healthcare Policy Management Administrator
Ironically earlier this week I was talking to another chain of hospitals out in Tennessee and they said that they have been using policy management software for over a decade. A new VP of Quality recently asked them; “how much time does using policy management software really save when it comes to nurses and other time-starved clinicians?”
I will answer this question for the two main types of people that use a policy management software solution within a hospital setting.
Healthcare Policy Management Software for Policy Administrators
First lets look at the policy administrator or person that is in charge of managing your policy management process as well as electronic system. Once the policy management system is set-up and running it should take this person anywhere between 15-30 minutes a month to maintain the process and the software. The policy administrator basically becomes known as the resident expert of the system. Therefore people will most likely visit the resident expert, email them, or call them to ask a few basic questions.
The expert may have to work with slower adopters of the policy management software to get them up and running. From time to time they may have to adjust a few user settings here and there, as well as help to communicate updates and changes of the policy management software to the rest of the hospital.
Again I would like to emphasize that this is after the policy management solution has been implemented, uploaded and the initial library of policies are already deployed. It is very rare that a hospital would need to have a full time policy administrator.
Healthcare Policy Management Software for Nurses, Doctors and General Staff
For the rest of the employees at your hospital or health care organization (once they are trained) using a policy management system ends up being a significant time saver. In fact the return on investment from this area alone in terms of saving time from your hospital’s front line staff and essentially giving them more time to focus on patient care is so significant that many hospitals recoup the cost of policy management software within the first 4 months of each year. See our article What is the ROI of Healthcare Policy Management Software for Hospitals?
In order to answer the question of how much time it takes general staff to use policy management software we here at Policy Medical decided to conduct a study. In this study we looked at how hospitals have been impacted by the use of policy management software. We conducted time studies at hospitals, before deploying policy management software. Staff were using a mix of policy binders, policy manuals, shared drives, intranet and/or MS SharePoint, and were taking anywhere from 5-30 minutes to find a policy.
Many times, frustration would arise when not being able to find the policy. After deploying policy management software, hospital staff were able to reliably find and retrieve the policy they were looking for within 2-5 seconds. Therefore the impact of using policy management software will speed up a hospital worker’s time to find policies between 100 to 600 times faster than before.
Variables To Consider
As I mentioned policy management software is just one tool, and one of the many variables, that is needed in a well-oiled policy management process. Even the time it takes to use policy management systems can be affected significantly by:
- The person using the system
- Internet and network connection speeds
- The type of policy management system used
Benefiting Your Organization
Hopefully this article gives you a good sense as to how much time it takes to use policy management software. If you would like to find out more, or would like to request a demo, please don’t hesitate to contact our team here at Policy Medical who are always here to help with any questions you may have.