HTML Formatted Documents Simplifies Policy Management

One of the most common discussions I have with a new PolicyStat client revolves around how to use our policy editor. There are certainly the common usage questions about how to create a table or how build an outline or any myriad of other things. This conversation, however, often leads to an exclamation (or in some cases an epiphany!) of Hey, this is different than Microsoft Word.

Yes, the PolicyStat editor IS different than Microsoft Word. And thats a good thing. More than that, it’s better than Microsoft Word! You might be thinking, That is quite a bold statement! As much as it would make the Linux crowd happy to hear me make the bold proclamation that anything is better than Microsoft Word, I am not picking on the Redmond crowd. You could insert any brand of word processor in that statement instead of Microsoft Word and my position would be the same. This is merely a reflection on how the PolicyStat system is architected.

The HTML Mindset One of the strategies that PolicyStat employs is to move our clients away from a mindset of document management into a mindset of information management. A medium-sized hospital might have 1000 or more policies to manage. If each of these 1000 policies is a unique document, the potential exists for 1000 uniquely formatted documents and that can lead to a system that is very difficult for a caregiver to use. Imagine trying to navigate 1000 different document formats. A policy champion can develop standards, but they become difficult to enforce and are viewed as cumbersome by the policy creators and editors.

The PolicyStat editor simplifies the process of formatting a policy because we are creating HTML documents and applying style sheets consistently across all policies. An editor only has to add the text (or other content) and the formatting will be handled by PolicyStat. In addition, the site-wide style sheets ensure that every policy has a consistent look and feel.

Steve Ehrlich made a great point last week about “Shortening the Distance” and why it is important to standardize and make it easy for the end user to find their information quickly, not only for the sake of efficiency but also as a way to prioritize patient safety and quality of care. Hospital CEOs agree, according to a 2009 ACHE survey which ranked “patient safety and quality” as the fourth highest concern of CEOs behind financial challenges, healthcare reform implications and care for the uninsured. In a fast-changing field such as healthcare, CEOs will be challenged to deliver patient safety and quality without compromising efficiency, and moving from Word documents to HTML is one of the first steps to achieving this goal.

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