Healthcare workers review policy management software on a tablet.
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November 23, 2017
    Article highlights
  • Importance of healthcare policy management.
  • Implementing a policy management software.
  • Download a free policy template.

In many ways, policies are the backbone of your organization. While it’s true that all organizations benefit from solid policies and clear procedures, it’s especially important in the healthcare industry.

As you know, lives are literally on the line in hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare venues. This means you and your employees have the opportunity to help others in meaningful ways.

But this level of vulnerability also means your organization is particularly susceptible to both safety and legal issues.

On the most basic level, policies guide your daily operations, giving your employees framework for their day-to-day work.

Healthcare policies and procedures can also protect your organization from litigation, providing evidence you had safety parameters in place. They also protect your employees and those they work with on a daily basis.

This is in large part why healthcare policy management is so important.

Only when you effectively manage your policies will your employees be able to properly adhere to them.

Though managing your policies takes time and strategy, it doesn’t have to be complicated.

Healthcare policy management software can empower you as you create, distribute, and manage your policies, ensuring you have the tools you need to run your organization safely and smoothly.

Importance of Healthcare Policy Management

Policy management is just as important as your actual policies.

Whether you take a more traditional approach with file cabinets and binders or adapt to the latest document management technology, it’s important to prioritize keeping your policies in order.

Think of it this way. Everything from how you store your policies to how you distribute them to your staff plays an integral role in compliance.

So how well you manage your policies is directly linked to the safety and success of your organization.

Risk mitigation

One of the primary reasons to prioritize policy management is risk mitigation.

In the healthcare industry, there are a number of legal and safety risks your organization is vulnerable to at any given time. And since the world of health care policy is always evolving, there can be a lot of new standards and best practices to keep up with.

Though you won’t be able to completely remove all risk from the picture, careful policy management can be a powerful tool for safeguarding your organization from safety, financial, and legal risk.

If you want to take steps toward mitigating risk in your company, creating and regularly updating solid policy documents is the best start.

Along the way, you can ensure a higher level of compliance through following directives of governing organizations like Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and American Society for Healthcare Risk Management (ASHRM).

Legal compliance

Along the same lines, rigid policy management can also keep your organization legally compliant, protecting you from lawsuits and associated costs.

Staying compliant with the most recent laws can even potentially lower your insurance premiums in the process. The most important thing is that your policies align with the most recent laws of any relevant governing bodies at all times.

Managing your policy documents closely during every stage of their life cycle – ideally, electronically – can help you do so efficiently and easily.

Healthcare workers review policy management together.

Accountability

When you have the right healthcare policies in place, you want to make sure your employees have easy access to them and, just as importantly, understand them.

This is where transparency and good communication come about both expectations and conduct come in in, both of which contribute to a culture of accountability in your organization.

When it comes to your policies, distribution, training, and testing are all major parts of establishing this in your organization.

You and your employees are responsible for complying to the policies and procedures your organization has put in place.

In this context, policy management means ensuring everyone has all the tools they need to both understand and adhere to your policies and procedures at all times.

It also means leading your employees by example by being compliant yourself.

Moving Your Policies Online

Managing your policy and procedure documents on paper may have been standard practice in the past.

But as technology continues to evolve, more and more companies are bringing their policy management efforts online.

By adopting a trusted healthcare policy management software, you can both reduce clutter in your office and ensure compliance to your organization’s policies when it matters most.

Problem with paper policies

There’s nothing inherently wrong with going the more traditional route in some areas. But managing your documents via file cabinets and stacks of paper may compromise compliance in your organization.

Your end goal is to ensure safety and reduce individual and organization-wide risk if at all possible. Your employees need immediate and convenient access to the policies with which you expect them to comply.

Having to rifle through a cabinet or page through a paper handbook makes matters more complicated for everyone. But the burden of paper policy documents goes beyond distribution.

Since you will likely have to continually update these documents over time, paper and printing costs will add up.

Keep in mind that some policy management solutions are better than others.

Homegrown solutions or a single server may be appealing on the front end. But these electronic solutions may not solve all your problems.

Typically, these older systems are controlled by a small group of people who keep their knowledge about the server to themselves, which isn’t scalable.

Is there a better way to do things?

Improve Your Policy Management

See for yourself how our policy management software can save time and increase compliance.

Technology to the rescue

Bringing all your documents to one place online – most commonly, the cloud – can benefit your organization (and those with whom you work) in a number of ways.

While software is certainly an investment, it ultimately pays for itself in the long haul. Not only will you be saving on paper and printing costs.

Going online can also save on spending associated with training efforts. Since you can conduct customizable training online at any time, you won’t have to invest in teachers or classrooms.

In addition to saving money and reducing paper waste, using the cloud to manage healthcare policies and procedure makes compliance simpler for everyone.

When you create or update your policy and procedure documents, you will likely collaborate with a team to glean a number of perspectives.

Co-editing on a single document reduces the risk of errors and saves time for everyone.

Along the same lines, updating your policies is much simpler when they are all online.

You can easily make sure employees see and sign off on the most recent versions of every of every document with policy management software. Having all this on file can protect you from legal risks.

On the distribution end, electronic documents typically make for optimal compliance.

Employees can more easily adhere to your policies when they have convenient access to your policy manuals and other documents on all their devices.

Implementing a Policy Management Software

If you know the time has come to implement a new way of managing your policy documents, the process does not have to be complicated.

Software takes some getting used to, but it should streamline things, in the end, adding efficiency and hopefully, compliance to your organization.

Before you overhaul your existing method dive into electronic policy management, consider the following insights and best practices.

Healthcare workers review policy management software.

Conduct a policy audit and review

The first step to optimizing the electronic policy management process is simply taking a close look at the policies you already have in place.

You need to make sure your existing policies are in line with local, state, and federal regulations, along with any other governing bodies to which you are responsible. You will also want to make sure all your policies reflect your organization’s vision and mission.

In this regard, it’s important to pay attention to not only the content of your policies but how you organize and articulate them.

Develop a standard policy structure

Developing and sticking with a standard policy structure simplifies the process for everyone. When you have a regular template guiding you, developing and updating your policies will be much easier.

Along similar lines, your policies and procedures will likely be much clearer if they are organized efficiently. Any steps you can take to help your employees navigate documents you distribute is helpful.

Free Policy Template

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Automate approval workflows

One of the major perks of electronic document management is the ease of collaborating and distributing your policies.

Make sure you take advantage of these functionalities by automating your approval workflows as much as possible. It’s helpful to decide ahead of time who needs to view and approve all your documents.

Once you establish this, you can electronically revise your policies with the suggested changes and submit them for final approval.

Distribute policies

The next step is getting your policy and procedure manuals in your employees’ hands.

After all, they can only comply with the information they have. Come up with a game plan for distributing your policies and notifying your employees of any updates. Next, make sure your employees know how to use all the technology they need for accessing these documents.

Once everyone is on the same page, you can have your employees sign off on documents and easily keep their signatures on record.

People discussing policy management software for healthcare.

Implement a training and education plan

Unfortunately, simply reading through policies and procedures does not ensure compliance. It’s important to engage your employees with this content through training.

As you know, your policies will continue to evolve over time. Make sure you come up with a plan for continued education of your employees.

With a policy management software, you can automate your training efforts. From creating customized curriculum to revising it with new information based on employee outcomes, cloud-based document management makes things easier.

You’ll also likely be pleasantly surprised at the amount of time and money you save along the way.

Perhaps you are just starting the process of exploring healthcare policy management software. Or maybe you are convinced of its benefits and ready to pull the trigger.

No matter where you are in the journey, ensuring compliance in your healthcare organization can only benefit your organization. When everyone in your company can access to the documents they need, everyone will be safer and more successful.

You are investing in your employees and, ultimately, the vision of your organization as a whole.

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