While risk is present in every industry, it is especially relevant to healthcare, as patients and staff encounter situations every day that can put their health and wellbeing at risk. Healthcare organizations are largely focused on mitigating risk in order to keep patients and staff safe. While care teams can't eliminate risk completely, they can implement efforts towards mitigating occurrences of risk. Where should you start in your risk mitigation efforts? Having the right policies and procedures in place is a great first step in ensuring proper efforts are in place to protect each person who steps foot in your facility. Policies and procedures serve as a guide for staff when direction is needed and help maintain your organization's compliance efforts. Once you have your policy library in place, it’s time to think about how your management of these important documents helps reduce risk in your organization. To help, we put together a guide highlighting three ways policy management can help mitigate risk in healthcare.
Linking your policies to mitigate risk in healthcare
It’s important for healthcare organizations to have systems in place that work well together, helping an organization promote safety and efficiency. An organization that lacks the ability to link its systems can risk compromising patient safety and undermining quality of care. Choosing technology that supports interoperability can help organizations access data and validate solutions to help facilitate coordination of care and reduce staff workload. Within the RLDatix software, when capturing adverse events, staff can easily access and link to the RLDatix PolicyStat module, documenting the policy referenced at the time of the event. Not only does this integration save staff members time during critical events, it equips them with the necessary tools to promote patient safety at the point of care.
Set automated alerts to review and update policies
Healthcare organizations are responsible for managing hundreds, sometimes thousands, of policies and procedures, which can result in important documents going unchecked. Out of date policies can lead to non-compliance and put the safety of patients, staff and visitors at risk. A strong policy and procedure automation tool will allow you to set up frequent reminders to review and update policies as need be. RLDatix PolicyStat is equipped with robust approval workflows that help you stay updated on the status of all policies in your library. With automated review and approval processes, your organization can reduce risk and eliminate surprises by keeping your policies current and easy to find by staff. Additionally, the system’s automated acknowledgments feature helps organizations initiate and track policy reviews to ensure that they are understood before policies become active. These features promote streamlined communication across your organization and help ensure important information won’t fall through the cracks. PolicyStat helps organizations have peace of mind knowing that their teams are aligning with the latest accreditation and industry practices.
Maintain Communication Channels with Staff
Since no two organizations operate the same way, risks differ depending on an organization’s unique environment. To stay up to date on risks facing your organization, keep an open dialogue with frontline staff. Hearing from them and the challenges they are experiencing can help identify problem areas that can be addressed by creating policies or procedures specific to your organization’s workflow. To help with engagement, you can offer the option for staff to submit comments anonymously or make it a fun departmental challenge where staff can vote on or rank what changes are most important to them. In the end, if you’re going to ask for suggestions be sure to let staff know they’re being heard.
Your policy management tool is another way for you to maintain communication with care teams across your organization. PolicyStat supports you in easily sharing policies and procedures across your organization which helps ensure that staff have the most up to date information at the point of care. If revisions are applied, staff are notified of those changes and can easily access the updated policy.
While risk is an aspect of every healthcare organization, what sets your organization apart is knowing you put in the correct processes to prevent that risk from occurring. Organizations can’t anticipate everything to mitigate risk in healthcare, but they can implement tools to help support the safety of all patients, staff and visitors. This is not a do first, mandate later scenario. With something like safety, it’s important to build a strong foundation with effective policy and procedure management that helps ensure the best possible outcomes for patients and staff. RLDatix PolicyStat helps organizations achieve this with streamlined policy and procedure management to help mitigate risk and promote patient safety.