The most fundamental description of healthcare policy management is that it is a set of guidelines for an organizations’ guidelines. It is a deceptively simple definition that, while essentially accurate, belies the complexity of the issues associated with a well-executed plan for policy management in a healthcare organization.
Healthcare is a highly-regulated industry covered by a wide variety of regulatory agencies. Healthcare organizations are regulated at the local, state and federal levels. In addition there are accreditation bodies that accredit hospitals as well as specific specialties and programs. All require strict adherence to what an extensive list of standards for literally every aspect of healthcare organization’s operations.
While the various policies may feel cumbersome and the processes for managing those policies may feel unwieldy, the reasons for these policies are compelling. They help prevent medical errors and errors in communication and have been developed with the goal of providing safe, effective, high-quality and error-free medical care to patients.
Because every aspect of healthcare (from cleanliness to reimbursement to patient safety) is regulated, the resulting list of regulators and accrediting bodies is lengthy and the corresponding number of regulations can run to the thousands. To further complicate the issue, policies change regularly and they must be documented and shared with staff to ensure compliance. The sheer volume of policies and procedures renders the task of maintaining, updating and distributing them nearly impossible. So, how should healthcare organizations go about policy management to ensure compliance, monitor changes in the regulatory landscape and provide optimal patient care?
HealthStream’s Policy Manager can help simplify your organization’s approach to the management of policies and procedures. Policy Manager can replace some of the most daunting tasks associated with policy and procedure management.
Paper and spreadsheets simply do not work when managing policies and procedures in healthcare, but automation can help your organization do more than just reduce paperwork. The most meaningful reasons to automate these processes are quality, safety and the reduction of medical errors.
Automation can enhance internal communication. To be effective, healthcare policy management needs to ensure that the right policies and procedures are in the hands of those frontline staff that need them. And leaders in healthcare organizations need to be confident that staff is aware of changes to policies and procedures.
Regulatory agencies and accrediting bodies regularly inspect and verify that policies and procedures are being reviewed and updated. Policy Manager provides reporting that makes it easy to demonstrate compliance with policy review requirements.
Another huge benefit to automating policy management is the significant improvement to operational efficiency. Policy Manager fully automates the processes to update, review, revise and approve thousands of policies and procedures – most of which must be reviewed on an annual basis. Policy Manager can reduce the time required for this process by hundreds of hours per year - saving time and money for your organization.
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