Selecting the right policy and procedure management software is a time- consuming and potentially confusing process. Unless managed carefully, internal dynamics can cause it to get hung up for good.
Why is that?
- It’s a process that may begin in one area, such as IT, but can impact other departments and their teams every day.
- The person or team leading the software evaluation, recommendation, and implementation journey most likely has never done it before.
- There is potential for decision-making paralysis from the scope of the commitment and the role the system plays in the ASC environment.
- When it comes to digital policy and procedure management solutions, there’s always more than one option. How do ASC managers tasked with leading the charge cut through the weeds of various proposals and choose the one that’s right?
Based on the experience of ASC compliance leaders who have faced similar obstacles, this post identifies the six (and a half) essential elements that no policy and procedure management system should be without.
Use it to help guide your final decision, and let it navigate you to the place where managing your healthcare policies and procedures is intuitive, automated, and always available.
After all, you’ve probably never done this before. We want to ensure you only have to do it once.
Tip 1: Is it easy to use and train?
The first step to getting all stakeholders with a vote or a voice in the decision-making process aligned behind your vision is to ensure they understand what you’re buying.
Although miles of code will run behind the scenes to connect all of the access points and drive the solution, what you’re really buying and asking others to buy into is a different way of doing things.
This is no small task if your ASC is like most, or if each affected department is doing things the old way and may not be ready to embrace change.
That’s why the platform you ultimately implement has to be user-friendly for everyone. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a system that creates new problems instead of solving the existing issues.
And as Kathleen McSchooler of Indiana Orthopaedic Hospital discovered, a system that makes it easy to create, edit, and locate key policy documents is more readily embraced by users:
“After our first policy committee meeting, I found that people have really embraced the editing features. Once they started working in the PolicyStat environment, our managers really responded positively to the technology.”
Tip 2: Is it seamless?
With ease of use comes ease of access.
For reasons that we covered above and will address next, you need be certain any system solution you recommend is easily accessible among departments.
Before you decide which solution you’re ready to buy into, specifically ask:
- Does the UX feel the same across all devices, both on-site and remotely?
- Is everything available to everyone when they might need it?
- Can everyone create, update, notify, verify, approve, and repeat without leaving the application?
Any final contender’s solution should check all of the boxes above. If it doesn’t, you can make your decision easier by removing them from the short list.
Tip 3: Is it scalable?
No matter how obvious the benefits of migrating to a digital policy and procedure management system might be, you should look beyond your present needs before committing.
Simply put, be sure the solutions under final consideration will scale without significant upgrade investments.
Scalability can also mean different things to various ASCs. For example, it can be measured in the system’s ability to accommodate increasing numbers of daily users, additional departments within a single location, new or acquired geographic locations—or a combination of everything. Therefore, an ASC should insist on concrete, current installations that clearly demonstrate scalability.
Tip 4: Is it flexible?
We mentioned you’ll be asking people to buy into a new way of doing things. But when we say that, we mean it as a way of working that adapts to the culture, skillsets, and priorities of your ASC.
You’ll want to:
- Be careful about solutions that come with rigid timelines or implementation schedules that rely on “perfect world” approvals and readiness assumptions.
- Ensure that existing documents will be accessible throughout the content migration process.
- Verify that the policy management site tools can be configured and adapted to the way your organization works, not how the vendor’s development team thinks it should.
Additionally, the partner you select should work with you by providing invaluable information to consider and workarounds for any objections that may develop.
Tip 5: Is it reliable?
Reliability may seem like a given, but it’s still critical for solidifying the most important facets of the solution you decide to champion.
So let’s break down “reliable” into its components:
- Reliability means glitch-free code, functionality that doesn’t break after updates, and proven installations in a variety of ASC environments.
- Reliability is about redundant servers in geographically-discrete locations for 99.9 percent uptime.
- Reliability also means real time—i.e. being able to efficiently create and manage policy documents and furnish them on demand.
The system offering proven reliability is the one that creates confidence and trust in users and in the judgment of the person or team behind the recommendation.
Tip 6: Does it work with minimal impact on IT?
The selling point for any policy and procedure management application is that it will make life easier for everyone.
When lean processes and smaller teams mean everyone in your ASC, including IT, is expected to do more with less, the partner you choose needs to help you demonstrate the following:
- The recommended solution will involve as little time from your IT team as possible.
- The solution won’t require that you buy and install hardware, software, plugins, or updates.
- The solution will deliver maximum productivity with minimal impact on your IT and patient-facing staffs.
The right partner can help you deliver a policy and procedure management system that allows everyone to spend more time delivering exceptional patient care, instead of chasing document approvals or wasting time locating documents that are inaccessible.
Tip 6.5: Does the partner understand ASCs?
We’re calling this final tip a half-tip because it should go without saying.
Your selected partner should understand how ASCs work—and what works for ASCs.
That matters a lot.
As we’ve emphasized, you’re buying into and building a new way to work with your healthcare policies and procedures. All vendors you’re considering should offer competence in the architecture, access, and hosting parts of the system.
But if your partner doesn’t understand the role that policy management plays in the daily and long-term success of your ASC, and if they can’t offer solutions and creativity based on years of experience working with healthcare facilities, you shouldn’t sign their contract.
Choosing a trustworthy team to help you implement an innovative policy and procedure management workflow isn’t a decision that anyone can undertake without feeling pressure.
However, asking the right questions can mean you’re more likely to avoid making the wrong call.
Two minutes can save you hours of agony
If you have two minutes, watch our demo to learn how you can automatically begin to shift thousands of hours you’re spending on policy and procedure management into focusing more time on delivering higher quality care.
Of course, you can also contact us to set up a live demo. You’ll quickly see why we have a 99 percent client retention rate and a 99.8 percent customer support satisfaction score.