Whether you’re responsible for the management of policies and procedures at a large hospital, post-acute or acute healthcare facility, you know how highly complex the healthcare industry is. This complexity is largely driven by the fact that the healthcare environment is made up of high levels of risk and unpredictability. Keeping these factors top of mind supports safety and compliance across an entire organization. What does this look like in practice? Your policies and procedures are a great way place to start. These documents are an important way to communicate guidelines on how staff across your organization can create a culture of safety. But creating and sharing them is just your first step. To help ensure the effectiveness of your policies and procedures, it’s crucial to consistently review and update them. Keep reading to learn why continuously maintaining your policies and procedures supports your organization’s safety and compliance efforts.
Healthcare Policies and Procedures: Guidelines to Support Effective Care
Current and up-to-date policies and procedures provide your staff with clear guidelines on how to handle activities and challenges that impact your organization’s health and safety efforts and align with regulatory requirements. Healthcare policy and procedures fall into a variety of categories including patient care, health and safety, information management and drug handling and management. If staff have hesitations or questions about any topics ranging from care processes to hygiene etiquette, they can reference your organization’s policies and procedures to identify how they should go about effectively handling a specific situation. When your staff are equipped with up-to-date policies, they are better positioned help reduce risk to patients, themselves and the organization.
The Impact of Policies and Procedures on Your Journey to High Reliability
When your policies and procedures are kept current, your organization is better equipped to reduce risk and hit top notch marks during your next on-site survey with a visiting regulatory body such as the Joint Commission. This can help take your organization to the next level and support you on your journey to high reliability.
A healthcare organization’s compliance with regulatory requirements is key to developing and maintaining a culture of safety for staff, patients and families. US-based healthcare organizations accredited by the Joint Commission are strongly encouraged to self-report sentinel events. The Joint Commission works to transform healthcare into a high reliability industry by developing effective solutions to address healthcare’s most critical safety and quality problems. High reliability is an important long-term goal and requires that staff use the most up-to-date policies and procedures.
One way to help ensure that your staff have access to the most current policies and procedures is to implement a policy and procedure management system. If your policies and procedures are scattered across paper files or a shared drive, your documents are at a higher risk of being out of date and inaccessible.
Key Benefits of Policy Management Software
Keeping your policies and procedures current and making them easily available to your entire staff is just one benefit of using a software platform such as RLDatix – a cloud-based policy management system that streamlines policy management processes and equips staff with the information they need at the point of care.
When staff need to access policies and procedures, they don’t have time to waste. PolicyStat’s powerful search capabilities help staff quickly and easily find the policies and procedures they need, when they need them most. When it comes time to update your organization’s policy documents, you want everyone on the same page. The platform’s robust approval workflows make managing policy reviews a seamless process. Automated review and approval processes help ensure staff across the organization have read and reviewed necessary policies and procedures.
There are many benefits of keeping your policies and procedures up-to-date with a policy management system. Here are four key highlights that support your organization’s safety and compliance efforts:
During on-site surveys, you can demonstrate to a surveyor when a policy was changed and/or approved and who was responsible for the document.
You can give your surveyor confidence that you are reviewing policies and procedures regularly to keep up with constantly changing regulations.
Your staff members will be better equipped to excel at their job and provide excellent care. Happy staff members want to know that they are making a positive impact in the workplace. Clearly written policies and procedures will help them understand what is expected of them so they can deliver better and safer care.
You will be better positioned to identify gaps in your progress towards becoming a high reliability organization and improving compliance.
These are only a few of the benefits of keeping policies current by using a platform like PolicyStat. One thing is for certain: when your staff are equipped with current policies and procedures, your organization is taking an important step to prioritize safety, reduce risk and save money and time.