In the field of healthcare, policy and procedure management is critical to the safety of both patients and staff, and while paperwork is a fact of life for healthcare workers, it doesn’t have to be a burden. With technology advancements, new regulations coming into effect, and developing software options, the field of policy management is also evolving. Utilizing newer policy management systems can help healthcare organizations minimize risk and maximize efficiency, by improving the day-to-day interactions employees and management staff have with their policy systems. Though adapting your current system to the digital era may seem difficult at first, the benefits will always prove to be worth it in the long run.
Is Digital Policy and Procedure Management Really the Best Option?
Policies, procedures, employee handbooks, and codes of conduct are just some of the paperwork that comes with running a healthcare company. But simply having a reliable set of policies is not enough—they must be managed well and implemented effectively. Using the right system for your organization is essential to communicating boundaries and expectations, establishing a culture of compliance, protecting the organization from litigation, and helping to achieve objectives.
A surprising number of organizations are still relying on paper-based systems—physical copies of policies that are stored in binders and located throughout a medical facility. But paper-based systems have many problems: they easily become disorganized, updates are difficult to implement and often missed by employees, binders are misplaced, etc. Finding and updating a single policy often meant wasting time flipping through pages, printing multiple copies, tracking down employees, and more. Paper copies also mean wasted space in offices and medical facilities.
Some organizations use server-based policy management software. While this allows policies to be stored electronically, and be easily accessible at any computer in the system, the policies are only available to users logged into the local network. This can cause problems for the many healthcare organizations and employees now using virtual or remote working options. In addition, installing and updating server-based software requires an engineer to be present on site, which can be costly both in time and resources.
In today’s world, the best option available to healthcare organizations is a cloud-based management solution. This setup can be deployed remotely in minutes, rather than hours. It allows staff to access the same type of software, without need to install any files on local servers. In today’s market, often relying on virtual and remote options, it can also be helpful for staff to have access to policies from home computers or other work areas. Healthcare organizations need a comprehensive, cloud-based policy management system that will provide a strong foundation and adapt to your needs (rather than you having to adapt to it).
Setting Your Organization Up for Success
Successfully implementing a cloud-based system requires some legwork up front if you haven’t already set a good foundation for yourself.
The first step is to identify a policy administrator. This is a person in your organization who will be the resident expert for your policy management system. They should have skills in handling documentation, auditing systems, and understanding local regulations. Their responsibilities will include maintaining and distributing policies and procedures, providing training, and compiling policy data.
A policy committee is another essential for a healthcare organization’s success. This committee can help keep your policy initiatives on track and your policies up to date. Having a committee helps to keep the organization in compliance with regulations, and ensures that policies are being enacted effectively. Policy committees allow for centralization of thought and open communication about your policy management process. The committee should meet regularly and consist of key stakeholders from various departments, including Nursing, Quality, Administration, Education, and IT.
Before making major changes, assess your current approach to evaluate what is and isn’t working. The best policy management begins with a policy itself. Creating a policy for handling policies can help you find best practices and areas that need to be improved. This policy on policies will standardize the process for writing, reviewing, approving, and maintaining all organizational policies. It is important to keep regulations, standards, organizational norms, and expectations in mind throughout the process of writing this policy. Whenever a new policy and procedure management system is being implemented, having a policy framework to uphold it is especially valuable, and helps to maintain a certain level of quality in new documents.
To achieve a consistent look and feel for your policies, your organization should be using policy templates with each new document. By using a corporate logo, an appropriate legal disclaimer, and the inclusion of all key policy sections, policy templates help organizations save time and ensure a consistent level of quality. These templates can be saved in a digital system to use again and again, streamlining the policy creation process and guaranteeing that policies meet the necessary criteria.
Policy and Procedure Management with ComplianceBridge
From creation to implementation, ComplianceBridge helps organizations craft new documents, automate distribution, and oversee the review process. With a customizable template system, version management, messages and approval workflows, ComplianceBridge allows multiple users to work together on creating policies, improving efficiency within policy committees. Once policies are ready to go, ComplianceBridge allows organizations to track their distribution, ensuring that employees are receiving and reviewing new policies.
With the layers of security that healthcare organizations need, ComplianceBridge makes it easy to update your policy management system in an efficient and reliable way. Request a demo with ComplianceBridge today to see how it can work in your organization.