Why Should Your Practice Care About Healthcare Policy Management?
Do you really think healthcare policy management is just as important as your actual healthcare policies? Well, if nobody knows where to find the policies and how they are organized, how would you expect anyone to comply with them?
Whether you take a more traditional paper-based approach with file cabinets and binders or bring everything onto the cloud, it’s important to prioritize keeping your policies in order. Why? Because the structure you place around managing your office policies is directly linked to the safety and success of your organization.
Following are just a few reasons to manage your office policies in a way that creates a culture of accountability, mitigates risk, and keeps your practice legally compliant and protected.
One of the obvious reasons to prioritize policy management is risk mitigation.
More so than many other industries, in healthcare, there are a number of legal and safety risks your practice is vulnerable to at any given time. As the world of health care policy evolves, there can be a lot of new standards and best practices to keep up with.
Although you’ll never remove all of the risk, you can minimize your exposure by setting clear expectations, creating a culture of accountability, and providing your staff the tools needed to understand and comply with the policies at all times.
Staying compliant legally can not only protect you from lawsuits and expensive legal fees, but it can also potentially even lower your insurance premiums. Managing your policies closely and keeping them current and up to date can help you maintain strict compliance and protected legally. One of the most effective ways to manage your legal policy documents is electronically. Electronic policy management can be one of the most effective ways to control compliance and make sure your policies align with the most recent laws of all governing bodies.
The old saying is you get what you measure. When it comes to healthcare policies, you want to make sure your staff is held accountable for adherence to your office policies. That starts with making sure all staff members have easy access to them and, of course, understand them.
Keeping a culture of not only accountability, but also transparency in your organization, is critical to creating an environment where staff members feel safe and comfortable with the expectations around your healthcare policies. You also want to ensure the proper training materials and job aids are readily available to your staff so you can eliminate any gap in the expectations of 100% strict adherence to your policies.
And finally, having a culture of accountability means leading by example. If the office leadership isn’t adhering to the standards, it’s hard to imagine the rest of the staff doing so.
It’s common knowledge that technology CAN help you increase efficiency within your office. But it also can be just as daunting to implement and train everyone on the very software tools that are supposed to make your life easier.
There can be no doubt, however, that bringing all of your manuals and documents into a central location can only be a good thing. Not only will you save on printing costs, but it should make it much simpler to edit and update your policies. 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.
And perhaps the most indisputable benefit for bringing your policies and compliance training online is to aid in the management of those policies and easily track accountability of your staff. Having one system to log in to and monitor progress of all employees is key to a successful ongoing program.
Implementing a Policy Management Software
With a policy management software, you can automate your training efforts. From creating customized curriculum to updating it with new information based on employee outcomes, cloud-based document management makes things easier.
At a very basic level, implementing an electronic policy management system involves the following steps:
- Conduct a policy review and audit. Take a close look at your policies to make sure all policies comply with local, state, federal, and governing body regulations. If they don’t, or if you aren’t quite sure…consult an expert in compliance training.
- Make the policy structure standard, simple, and easy to understand. All policies will be different, but give them all a similar structure, look, and feel, and you’ll get better results.
- Create an engaging, customized, and effective curriculum for your employees to use for their training needs. This can be a mixture of “out of the box” material, as well as customized policies specific to your office.
- Automate as much as possible. Scheduled training requirements and automated approvals and reminders will keep your team in sync.
- Create an easy distribution method. Getting the policy manuals and training information into your staff’s hands is sometimes the toughest part. By uploading the documents online and having them available at any time, your employees will always have access to them. Even from the comfort of their living room if you allow them to.
- Keep an electronic signature system so that your employees can sign off on the policies and your practice can keep track of them in case of an audit.
- Publish your results. By measuring office progress towards training and compliance requirements, you’ll get better engagement and foster healthy competition.
Whether you have stacks of paper manuals, or you’re actively using a healthcare policy management system, your organization’s needs to manage your policies are probably not going to go away anytime soon. Your investment in your employees in the form of a solid healthcare policy management system, will not only benefit your employees but will also keep you and your practice protected and compliant.