- What is policy management software?
- What is a policy management platform?
- Top features most policy management software has
- Top features most policy management software DOESN'T have
What is policy management software?
Most organizations – whether they're corporations, nonprofits, hospitals, health networks, or law enforcement organizations – have created and organized a large number of policies that dictate how they operate.
Policy management software is a way those organizations can store and manage their various policies in a central location that's accessible by everyone.
In the 20th century, those policies were often stored in large 3-ring binders that everyone received. Policies were updated as needed, and copies of new policies were given out to each employee in the hopes that everyone would read them before replacing the old policies in their notebooks.
Even now, many organizations store their policies on shared cloud drives that are really only suitable for online storage. They share access to the documents or their folders, but never really know if their associates have read or accessed them in the first place.
Others create bound books with their policies, handing out updated versions once every year or two. And still others are using the old paper filing system that has been in operation ever since binders were invented. In most cases, you can't even be sure if everyone has the most up-to-date policy, let alone whether they've read it.
Today, thanks to cloud-based technology, policy management software digitally stores all policies in a central location where everyone in that organization can access them. It ensures that everything is consistent and easily found.
- Updates can be reviewed, amended, and approved online
- Notifications of updates can be delivered electronically
- People can read the updates on their own schedule
- It can track when a policy or update has been read and signed by employees
- You can track testing and training to ensure compliance requirements are being met
These features (which are just the beginning of what policy management technology can do) help with accreditation and compliance issues, and they can provide legal protection against legal and regulatory actions as well.
But policy management software is just a small piece of accreditation and compliance. To see your company's whole policy/training/accreditation system in all its glory, you need a policy management platform.
In this article, we’ll explore features to expect from your policy management tool, as well as features you'll probably want but are hard to find. Don’t worry, we’ll tell you where to find them too.
So what is a policy management platform?
A policy management platform connects other compliance programs – like training or accreditation – to your policies. It creates a seamless, living connection that saves you time and money, especially when preparing for assessments and proving compliance.
Think of it as a suite of programs all synthesized into one functional interface, sort of like your favorite office productivity suite. You could have separate programs for policy distribution, document management, accreditation compliance, and licensing requirements, or you could have a single policy management platform that manages all of those programs in one location, pulling each of those functions together so they're all interrelated.
Top features most policy management software has
Most policy management software solutions have these features (at least any of the good ones).
- Central repository: All of your documents should be stored in one secure cloud server that is accessible by everyone in your organization. No tracking down files or sorting through old binders to find the latest version.
- Access control: Just because everyone has access doesn't mean they should have the same level of access. Some people should have read-only access, others have editorial and approval access, and only a select few have full administrative access.
- Electronic signature tracking: Whenever a new policy or procedure has been added, you can require signatures of everyone who has to read it. This way, you can see who has read it and who needs a reminder.
- Workflows: You can create a workflow to generate, edit, track, and approve a new policy, seeing where you are along each step of the final approval process. Automate steps that required manual input in the past, such as reminding people to read policy updates.
- Version control: You know which version of a document is the latest, and there's no chance for confusion or referring to old policies.
- Reporting: Show executives and supervisors where you are in the accreditation or compliance process, demonstrate your progress, and show your challenges and opportunities.
- Mobile app: If you have remote staff or people in the field, you can't wait for them to get back to the office or their desk to read and acknowledge new updates. They should be able to access them on their mobile phones. And people should be able to read the policies for clarifications about issues they face at any given moment.
- Integration with existing editing tools: Rather than using a policy management solution's clunky, underpowered word processor, look for a solution that works with Microsoft Office, Microsoft OneDrive, or Google Drive.
Top features most policy management solutions don't have
Not all policy management software solutions are created equal (or equally). These are some important features that you won't find in other solutions.
- A true policy management platform, not just a single policy management piece of software. It should integrate with your training and accreditation/compliance software. Better yet, it should be your training and accreditation/compliance solution.
- A living connection between policy, training, and accreditation. When there's a new or updated policy from your accreditation agency, training and accreditation requirements will update as well. When more people complete training, accreditation reports will be updated. And so on.
- Ability to publish public-facing documents. This is a way to ensure the public has access to up-to-date versions of your public documents, procedures, and forms. You can create, edit, and publish documents, all without waiting for your IT or web team to help.
- Industry-leading security. You want to ensure your client and customer data is encrypted with state-of-the-art encryption, housed offsite, and geographically dispersed in case of a natural disaster. The solution should also maintain SOC 2, CJIS, and HIPAA compliance.
- U.S.-based, in-house customer service. Rather than outsourcing your customer service, you need a solution that has full-time in-house employees who truly know and understand the software they're helping with. A solution like PowerDMS.
PowerDMS comes loaded with both lists of features – those that most solutions have and those that most solutions lack. Not only that, our 97% customer satisfaction rating ensures you have a seamless onboarding experience and that ongoing maintenance is a breeze.
- PowerDMS answers all inbound service requests sent in via phone, email, and chat, with 90% of customer cases resolved in under one business day.
- PowerDMS has 500+ 5/5 star reviews for customer service on third party sites, including Capterra, TrustRadius, and G2.
Still can't decide?
If you're not sure which policy management software solution will fit your organization, PowerDMS can help. We know what features are available on most other policy management solutions on the market. We can assess your organizational requirements and tell you which platform features you need and don't need. Schedule a meeting with PowerDMS today using the button below.