Healthcare facilities and organizations sometimes have a hard time keeping track of all of your contracts. This may not come as a surprise considering the complex nature of healthcare systems. Being in the healthcare industry for over a decade as policy and contracts management software vendors, one of the key issues we have recognized is that managing contracts manually may not always be the most effective way. Thus, we developed a robust contract management solution to help healthcare organizations streamline the process of managing their contracts. With that said, we realize that we may not always be the perfect solution that matches every healthcare facility’s needs; we also realize there may be another vendor that does. Therefore, this article is addressed in a generic manner to help you adapt best practices when managing your contracts regardless of which software you employ.
Employing a robust solution does not solely act as an answer to the problem. In fact, in order to ensure you are reaping the most benefits, it is important to follow a set of best practices. We realize managing all of those contracts is no easy feat for any organization and we hope to better assist in the overall process, which is why we decided to address this in today’s article.
Healthcare Contracts Management 101
Just like in any other industry, contracts are one of the most essential documents for healthcare facilities. A typical hospital or healthcare organization will have hundreds to thousands of contracts with a range of vendors, individuals and organizations. A recent study showed that approximately 10% of all contracts are lost across industries. This frightening statistic illuminates the need for efficient contracts management.
A robust and effective contracts management solution allows healthcare facilities to lower costs, assure compliance, and ensure their patients are provided with the best possible care. Such a solution simplifies the way contracts documents are managed from its creation to reviews and approvals.
Best Practices In Contracts Management
Streamline, streamline, and streamline some more. Just like the management structure of a healthcare facility, the creation and renewal process of contracts can be a bit complex at times. Due to this, it is vital that such processes are standardized to ensure that all required steps are executed consistently. Throughout the life of a contract, it goes through several stages. For instance, once a contract is created, it most likely will move through various departments of a healthcare facility, where information will be submitted, mistakes will be rectified, approvals will be obtained and signatures added. Hence, having a standardized process helps simplify these steps and will help prevent ad hoc processes, mistakes, and unnecessary wastage of time. In this instance, a useful tool is a flowchart that outlines the steps and individuals that a contract must pass through before being finalized.
Workflow automation can create accountability which helps avoid any misunderstandings or mistakes that might otherwise occur. Various factors can cause delay in the contract creation or review processes, as there might be occurrences where a contract may get stuck in an individual’s inbox, or on their desks. These delays can cause major differences between meeting a deadline and missing it. This may further influence in establishing a new relationship or missing out on it altogether. Thus, automatic workflows prevent such interruptions from occurring by constantly reminding users about key obligations, contract dates, and termination dates by attaching this information to the contract in an automated system. This can further be ensured, as most leading management solutions would send regular email reminders, prompting the user to ensure their share of the tasks are done. It should be noted that contract management does not solely rely on the internal process, as it also encompasses processes that may be intertwined with the vendor’s own obligations and deadlines.
It may not come as a surprise to many healthcare workers, but contracts go hand in hand with policies and procedures. For instance, if you have a policy or procedure surrounding security you may have an associated contract with a HIPAA security advisor. An effective contracts management solution would provide you with the ability to link a contract to relevant policies and procedures documents, creating seamless integration for compliance purposes. This will most likely require the adoption of both an electronic policy management system and an electronic contracts management system.
Make templates your best friend. How often are identical clauses used within your healthcare organization’s contracts? I’m sure it’s quite often. A great deal of time could be saved by automatically populating these clauses into your contracts. Your organization’s legal team can decide which clauses are most commonly used, and they can be written and housed within your contracts management system. In addition, commonly used contracts can be made into templates and stored within your system. A great deal of time will be saved that can be focused on the unique portions of each contract.
Efficient contract management software for healthcare, such as PolicyManager™, is standardized, uses automated workflows, is linked with policies and procedures and has a repository of contract clauses and templates. PolicyManager™ will simplify the entire contract lifecycle. By implementing and consistently utilizing these best practices, healthcare organizations can eliminate mistakes and wasted time, while mitigating risk and ultimately improving patient care.
As a health organization facing the issues mentioned herein, you may or may not already be using some type of software to help you overcome these aforementioned issues. Here, at PolicyMedical we’ve developed PolicyManger, our proprietary software that is currently helping hundreds of hospitals around the globe overcome the issue of contract management in healthcare. Depending on your organization’s current needs, this software may or may not be the right solution for you. Regardless, we are more than happy to help you come to a conclusion, even if that means we aren’t the best fit. Please, do not hesitate to contact us should you need any assistance. Alternatively, you may book a demo to see our solutions in action.