We understand that it can be difficult to know where to start when developing new policies, or updating existing policies, in a policy management system. Through our work with healthcare facilities, we have learned that organizations have the most success with these tasks, if they have a standardized template for their policies and procedures. This helps streamline the process in creation of these documents, and gives a consistent look and feel for all of the organization’s policies. You may find our policy management software solution to be the most suitable option for creating and organizing policy templates and documents. On the other hand it may be that you feel another vendor’s software is a better fit. Whatever your preferred option, the suggestions below generally apply to all policy management systems.
Policy Document Checklist
Ideally, your policies should have the following format:
-Logo in the header of the document
-Title of policy
-Policy number (if the hospital is using a policy numbering system)
-Date of last revision
-Date of next revision
-References (if available)
-Page number in the footer of the document
For your ease, you can download the checklist PDF here.
Using Microsoft Word File Format
Our advice for best practice is to have your policies and procedures in Microsoft Word format. The reason for this is to easily create a policy template that your healthcare organization can use when creating new policies. If a policy is going through the approval path, the information can easily be copied and pasted into the policy template. Using Microsoft Word also allows for different formatting options and, more importantly, allows you to keep track of all changes or edits made to the document during the review process. We recently had experience with a healthcare provider who switched between a variety of file formats during the creation of a document and this lead to some discrepancies.
Ideally, most hospitals prefer to have one policy template standardized look and feel for all documents across the organization. Sometimes, the needs and requirements for individual departments can differ, so it may be helpful to provide more than one template for your staff to choose. For example, the lab department may have a completely different set of policies and procedures than the nursing department. The labs may need to create and maintain their own policy template.
A policy management system platform should be able to help you upload new templates, which will make it easy for staff to select from. The system software should also give users who have the ability to create, or edit, documents, the ability to choose from a specific template and use that template for all of their new policies.
Workflow Templates and Other Tools to Help Streamline Document Creation Process
In addition, software for a policy management system should also provide other tools to help streamline the document creation process. For example, our policy management software solution allows clients to create Workflow Templates. These are completely separate from the Document Templates, since it allows hospitals to have complete control over their workflow management and approval path. Within our software, you can specify multiple tasks that are involved in a typical workflow, and save that as a Workflow Template. This means that hospitals do not have to re-create task lists each time they are working on a document. They can simply choose from a workflow template and the system automatically populates the task list. The goal for these Workflow templates and Document templates is to help increase productivity and make it easier for clients to manage their documents, allowing for that time to be better spent taking care of other important responsibilities in the hospital, like patient care.
Since we work with so many different types of healthcare organizations – ranging from large healthcare systems, single site hospitals, long-term care and retirement home facilities, laboratories and clinics – we have learned that there is no one-size-fits-all template for the document management process. And while we do not provide policy templates for clients, our team is happy to share best practices that we have learned from working with hundreds of healthcare organizations across North America.
The Right Policy Management System
With a suitable policy management software solution, hospitals and healthcare organizations can help streamline their document management processes. Templates are just some of the many ways that the software can help your hospital have complete control over your workflow and management of policies and procedures. You may find that our application is the best solution for organizing your policies, or you may find another vendor to be a better fit. Regardless, we will be more than happy to help you come to the right conclusion. For more information on PolicyMedical or our PolicyManager™ software, please contact us or schedule an online demonstration.