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Policies and Procedures aren’t typically the first thing that comes to mind that your staff thinks about when they’re asked, “What’s the favorite aspect of your job?” While that may be true, we all know that current Policies and Procedures are critical when it comes to delivering better patient care. In fact, the Joint Commission and other accrediting organizations rely on a hospital’s policies and procedures in their assessments. CEOs of hospitals also site policies and procedures as critical components of an effective risk management and control process. With hospitals running as lean as possible, there are often multiple competing priorities for your staff’s time and ensuring policies and procedures are managed effectively can become a lower priority. That makes Joint Commission surveys a crisis with the staff scrambling to make policy and procedure updates that align with practice requirements.
At PolicyStat, we have helped hundreds of hospitals avoid the scramble and make policy and procedure management easier to manage. Here are a few of the common challenges we’ve seen and helped hospitals like yours overcome:
- Lack of alignment between OIG and Joint Commission requirements across different departments in the hospital
- Inconsistent coordination and management of policies and procedures across departments
- Lack of standard documentation and redundant efforts to keep policies current
If this sounds familiar, then perhaps it’s time for you to take steps to proactively ensure your policies and procedures are in order for your next survey. There is no doubt that up to date policies and procedures are a business imperative for hospitals today. Here are four easy steps you can take to ensure your next survey result is a positive one and that you’re implementing best in class principles for Policy and Procedure Management.
One Adopt a strategic approach to managing policies and procedures.
- One of the key elements to a strategic approach is taking the view that staff productivity is a critical success factor. Most hospitals today are adopting lean management approaches to improve patient care. Ensuring that your staff isn’t wasting time with redundant approvals and inconsistent processes across departments for updating policies and procedures will not only improve efficiency, but also staff morale.
- When you adopt a strategic approach you’ll begin to align departmental goals with hospital goals, this includes goals such as ensuring policies and procedures are complete and up to date.
Two Invest in technology to make policy and procedure management easier.
- In a recent survey we conducted with hospital facilities around the country we found that one of the most important aspects of Policy and Procedure Management Software was ensuring that policies and procedures were easily accessible to all hospital staff. Getting the right information in the right hands at the right time is a great way to ensure better patient care throughout your organization. With PolicyStat policy and procedure management software your policies will be easy to find and easy to access.
- Another key element of Policy and Procedure management software is its ability to demonstrate policy and procedure management approvals, in addition to creating workflows for approval management. This key functionality cuts down on time consuming committee meetings and ensures that the most recently updated policy and procedure isn’t sitting in a file cabinet that only a few can access.
Three Identify whether you have the right skills in your staff to effectively manage policies.
- The success of any organization relies on people to implement and execute the initiatives that will allow the organization to achieve its goals. For effective policy and procedure management the ability to write good policies is just the beginning. You also need someone who is able to standardize, organize and communicate information effectively across the organization. The person responsible for policy and procedure management should also be able to galvanize department leaders to adopt consistent and reliable systems to improve the effectiveness of policy and procedure management across the organization.
- Another critical skill set is the ability to “manage up”. With all of the strategic imperatives C-level executives have on their plate this person will be responsible for getting senior executive buy-in to ensure successful implementation of a policy and procedure management system throughout the organization.
Four Create a clear structure for facilitating staff compliance with policies and procedures.
- Once you’ve taken the step of aligning the organization to standardized policy and procedure management you’ll need to make it easy for staff to get to the policies they need to guide patient care, but you’ll also need to ensure that your staff has actually looked at the policies and procedures critical to the organization’s success. PolicyStat makes it easy for your staff to access policies and also acknowledge that they have read and are adhering to policies throughout the organization.
So there you have it. Four easy steps you can take to ensure that your next survey result is positive. Perhaps you find yourself using a tool like SharePoint or a system of shared folders. It may be time for you to consider a more complete and comprehensive approach to Policy and Procedure Management. We invite you to learn more about PolicyStat and find out how we can help you improve organization’s efficiencies and provide better patient care.