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December 7, 2020

Accreditation can be difficult to achieve and maintain, especially if you’re using paper methods, but it also comes with numerous benefits.

The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) reports that accredited law enforcement organizations benefit from increased community advocacy, receive support from local government officials, and have a more robust defense against civil lawsuits. Accreditation can also help reduce risk and liability exposure.

According to the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC), 88 percent of accredited organizations reported that accreditation helped them adopt new activities, such as using checklists or screening for certain medical issues. Further, 79 percent of organizations said accreditation helped them follow AAAHC standards, conduct more audits, and to standardize forms.

Accreditation is a rigorous process that requires hundreds of documents, compliance with various policies and procedures, and the ability to show all of your compliance efforts in one easy-to-read location for accreditation reviewers.

Fortunately, you can simplify the accreditation process with policy and procedure manual software. We’ll show you how.

What is policy manual software?

Policy manual software is a cloud-based platform that lets you manage, store, update, and track your policy manuals. Your online policy and procedure manuals are accessible by all employees, even those working remotely. You can update the manual online and notify everyone of the new changes. This helps you eliminate the need for everyone to have a printed copy of your policy manual, which could save thousands of dollars in printing and storage costs.

Policy manual software also lets you track electronic signatures so you can know that people have received their manuals or read and received essential updates.

Plus, it saves you time from emailing new policies and updates to everyone in a department or organization. The changes can be made directly to the online policy and then shared with the organization.

Benefits of online policy and procedure manuals

Twenty years ago, policy and procedure manuals were often just binders of different policies that had been handed down over the years. Someone would make occasional updates, and those would be printed out and distributed throughout the organization. Everyone was required to read the new updates, replace the old policy in their manual, and sign off that they had read it. Of course, tracking this was difficult, especially for large organizations.

With online policy and procedure manuals, you can more easily manage the manual and its various updates and changes. Whenever a policy or procedure is revised, the updated version is added to the software. With proper security permissions, people can read side-by-side comparisons to know how it has changed, gather e-signatures, and review read receipts to confirm that everyone has seen the policy.

You can map those policies to your accreditation standards and attach compliance proof to them. With certain policy manual software, like PowerDMS, it’s easy to show when those standards have been met, receive alerts when those standards have been updated, and even see which policies are affected by those updates.

Finally, the right policy manual software can help you prepare for an onsite. You can collaborate with members of your accreditation team through automated workflows, as well as give assessors/surveyors access to the necessary proofs of compliance even before they conduct their onsite. But do your research, because not every solution offers these features.

Manage your policies like a pro.

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What standards manuals do you need?

Different organizations and industries have to meet various standards. It basically comes down to answering questions like whether your industry is regulated, if you want to get accredited (or already are), and if you have a large organization with a lot of moving parts and chances for liability. For example, a marketing agency may not have as much of a need for a standards manual as a manufacturing organization that uses many hazardous materials and dangerous machinery. And an extensive hospital system will have many more accreditation requirements than a small, one-physician medical practice.

PowerDMS partners with 60+ accrediting bodies to publish many state, national, and international standards manuals. If you need a standards manual beyond these partnerships, we have services that let you add nearly any standards manual to PowerDMS and tap into the full functionality of our accreditation management solution. You can see all of our standards on our standards manual page, but some of our highlights include:

International Standards

  • Law Enforcement: CALEA
  • Campus Police: IACLEA
  • ISO: ISO 17025, ISO 15189, ISO 9000, ISO 9001, ISO 9004, ISO 17020, ISO 17021-1, ISO 17043, ISO 27001, ISO 27002, ISO 14001, ISO 13485, ISO 22000, ISO 45001, ISO 17011

National Standards

  • Correction: PREA, ACA, NCCHC
  • Campus Police: Clery
  • Forensics: ISO 17025, ANAB 17025
  • Parks & Recreation: CAPRA
  • Fire/EMS: CPSE
  • Healthcare: AAAHC, CIHQ, NELAC, NCCHC, TJC

PowerDMS can help with your accreditation