It is common to come across articles outlining the cost of using policy management software, however, it is quite rare that concerns regarding the cost of not having one be addressed. As we continue to work in the healthcare industry as contract and policy management software vendors, we usually find ourselves addressing questions regarding the cost of our solutions. Despite the fact that such questions are imperative when making a decision to whether or not employ such a solution, it may be insightful to reflect upon the other side of the spectrum: the cost of not having such a solution. With that said, not all policy management software are the same and that some may be a better fit for a healthcare organization that the others and our solution is no exception to that. Therefore, we recognize that we may not be able to cater every facility’s needs and that there may always be another vendor that can. Regardless, this article is written generically to help you realize the benefits of employing policy management software, regardless of which vendor you ultimately choose.
Compared to manually managing a healthcare facility’s policy and procedure documents, using software tools are more beneficial in many ways, including reducing cost, increasing work efficiency, and ensuring effective communication. However, what are the actual costs of managing documents? Are they significant enough or do they overweigh the cost of policy and procedure management software?
The workflow of authoring and managing policies and procedures often requires a lot of communication and collaboration between departments and committees. Group meetings and calls may become very time consuming if the structure of the workflow is not optimal. Therefore, even the communication conducted between members in the same task category may require a lot of back forth. Due to such unorganized structure that may result from manually managing policies may result in a massive amount of time spent, generating the huge labour cost.
A well-managed policy and procedure document library is normally well labeled and categorized, which requires many people’s efforts when a new policy is added. However, in a manual policy management system to look-up a policy or procedure in a huge document library may be a tedious act that requires a lot of effort and time. Most organizations index documents only by policy number or policy name. If a document is needed depending on a certain author, creation date, or other criteria about the document, it is almost impossible to be found straightforwardly. A good policy and procedure software usually has a fully functioning search engine to meet any search criteria, and some may even have a convenient “find and replace” feature that not only helps find the document but also replaces it if the criteria changes.
There are two common ways of storing policies and procedures. For paper copies, a physical space is needed with proper protection from flood, fire and other damaging sources. For electronic copies, they can be stored in local storage facilities, in computer hard-drive or remote storage devices. Either of the options requires additional cost as it not only costs to set up the storage environment, but it also costs to protect the documents from potential damage that can be done to them. When one policy is lost or damaged, the replacement cost is sometimes more than just the creation of the policy itself. In addition, a cost is generated when policy and procedure manuals are required to be transported to different destinations. Policy and procedure management software offer massive data storage, data protection and data back-up services rendering it to be a perfect fit for reducing all of the storage costs.
When a policy is ready to be published and made available to certain readers, it can become quite painful to distribute it manually. Printing costs can arise exponentially depending on how many copies are required of the document. Secondly, it can become quite difficult to notify the target readers, as it would need to be done individually and manually. Thirdly, due to the reason stated in the second factor, it can also be quite difficult to collect feedback from individuals manually. However, thanks to technological advances, these tasks become very easy with the help of robust policy management software.
To keep policies up to date is one of the very important tasks in managing policies and procedures. Reminders for individual documents must be set up according to their scheduled review date. However, designing and setting up a new workflow manually may become very time-consuming. If a standard or regulation is updated, all related documents must be revised at the same time.
Having powerful and robust policy management software can help reduce the aforementioned costs considerably, as well as, improve efficiency and save considerable amount of time. Costs of not having such a solution may not always be tangible as it also helps ensure the healthcare facility is on par with the regulations advised by the governing boards. Therefore, we at PolicyMedical, strive to develop contract and policy management software to help healthcare facilities manage their policies and contracts optimally. However, despite our best efforts, realize we may not always be able to cater to every organization’s needs and that there may be another vendor that does. Regardless, we are more than happy to help you come to a conclusion even if it means another vendor is the right option. Please, do not hesitate to contact us should you require any assistance. Alternatively, you may book a free demo to see our solutions in action.