Choosing the right strategy to make better use of your policy management software doesn’t have to be a difficult task. At PolicyMedical, we have been working with healthcare organizations for over a decade now, and from our experience, as long as there is a carefully thought out implementation plan, everything else falls into place.
The implementation process consists of several phases, always beginning with the kick-off and ending with the go-live event. The phases in between can vary between policy management software vendors, but they usually center around: preparation, site set-up, and training options. In this article, I’ll focus on the first step of the implementation process: the kick-off event. This is where all of the strategies and phase roll-out plans are laid out and the clients receive a general overview of what to expect throughout the process (so you’ll hear a little bit about the other phases as well), and will have the opportunity to customize certain portions of the process. Among all of the topics to be discussed at this point, these are the 6 that are most important:
The communication plan is exactly what it sounds like: a plan for communicating to site staff. The policy management software vendor you have partnered with may give you suggestions on best ways to do this, or you may be able to make your own requests.
You’ll want to decide whether you should send regular updates and keep staff in the loop through the implementation process, or you could send only the important dates where their participation is required – up to you! It’s also necessary to decide how
Here’s a few discussion points I present to PolicyManager™ clients:
- How (virtual or live), and when, should the implementation of PolicyManager™ be introduced?
- To get buy-in from staff, we need to properly promote the policy management software upgrade, how can we do this? (ie. A booth with a video presentation, a poster in the cafeteria, email blast, announcement, video link, etc.)
- What is the targeted Go Live date, or week?
A policy committee is usually made up of the key stakeholders in charge of each manual of policies, many times mirroring the departmental structure of your organization. It’s important to assign members to this committee because it allows for centralization of thought and communication around many key components. It may be easier to execute a policy committee in a single site/facility setting because there are less parties involved, but it will give your organization a significant advantage in achieving your policy and procedure management goals.
3. IT Preparations & Site Set-up
When it comes to the installation of any technology or electronic application, you always want to make sure any necessary resources are available to the person tasked with the implementation. That’s why during the kick-off, your policy management software vendor will notify you ahead of time what resources are required to be on site. For multi-site implementations, identifying the IT leads at each site (if required) should always be your first question.
Once you’ve set up a Policy Committee, consider having the committee conduct inventory of your policies to determine the following:
- The location of your policies (including archived)
- The formats of your policies (paper/hard copy, or electronic pdf, MS Word etc.)
- Any duplicates and obsolete policies
- Any multi-disciplinary policies (for more detail see the next section below).
Policy standardization is a major priority for many healthcare facilities. Changes in ownership over the years or perhaps a decentralized policy creation process leading to inconsistent policy formats have allowed policies to have a variety of formats. Achieving a consistent look and feel for your policies with the correct corporate logo/brand, an appropriate legal disclaimer inserted into the footer of your policy template (to protect your organization from staff printing, retaining hard copies and using beyond its intended use), and the inclusion of all key policy sections which your organization deems relevant (such as a purpose and intent sections etc.) is critical.
When you’re discussing training during the kick-off, it’s necessary to verify the number of users that will need to be trained, and later identify the requirements to coordinate this training and an available facility. For multi-site implementations, I would suggest the Project Lead identify a Training Coordinator at each site.
Depending on the size and needs of your facility, your software vendor may provide you with one-on-one or group site training. At this point a discussion about timelines for the training should take place. Ie. the targeted number of training days.
I think we’ve all seen the great results of having a well-planned timeline for a project. That’s why it’s so important to discuss each of these topics so early on in the implementation process. Keep in mind that although the go-live date for your policy management software is the last step in the implementation process, it will determine the pace at which your entire project will be conducted.
With all that being said, you don’t have to do this alone. If you’ve partnered with a great policy management software vendor (and there’s a lot of great options out there), expect your vendor partner to help you throughout the entire planning and implementation process and seeing the project through until its completion, and then some.
PolicyMedical is the premier provider of secure policy and procedure document management for the healthcare industry. Their signature software, PolicyManager™, is a web base policy and procedure document management application currently utilized by over 1500 hospital and healthcare facilities. To learn more about PolicyManager™, contact PolicyMedical directly or request a free, no obligation demo.