P&P Policies and Procedures Consulting
P&P Policies and Procedures Consulting

Subscribe to
The Policies & Procedures Authority Newsletter

The Policies & Procedures Authority – The newsletter about the art of transforming workplace learning and performance through Policies & Procedures Communication

Healthcare Industry Benefits from Policies & Procedures Management Software

By Whitney A. Gutgsell and Raymond E. Urgo

Demands on healthcare

With legislation and regulations, especially in the U.S., placing a greater demand on the healthcare industry to manage risk, reduce costs, and stay compliant, communicating and managing policies and procedures (P&P) is more essential than ever.

Emergence of P&P management software

During the past 15 years, P&P management software products have emerged in response to the demands in healthcare, providing various types of benefits for the industry.

Format and style control

With web-based P&P management software, the P&P administrator can set facility-wide styles that enable authors to focus on communicating the content instead of worrying about the mechanical format (layout and type fonts). Controlled templates help to ensure standardized healthcare practices across departments and entire health networks.
Example: The chief nursing officer at a 25-bed critical-access hospital in Indiana used P&P management software templates to ensure standardization of procedural documents in the surgery unit. She discovered many documents missing the crucial section “Time Out,” which provides steps to ensure that each patient receives the correct operation.

Collaboration made easy

P&P management software includes features that facilitate collaboration on developing and maintaining P&P. Dashboards provide an easy-to-see view of all P&P that are about to expire, so content authors, such as nurses, no longer need to update and maintain a “master list” of documents. Notification settings automatically send email alerts to content authors, reviewers, and approvers that an action is required or missed. An approval-routing feature eliminates the need to email multiple versions of P&P back and forth among those involved.

Network-wide content sharing

P&P management software enables multiple hospitals within the same network to collaborate on P&P content development and to reuse content from another hospital in the network.
Example: If a critical-access hospital’s health network includes a world-renowned heart center, the hospital’s P&P author could use the heart center’s award-winning and evidence-based cardiac procedures—saving time from re-inventing content, while ensuring leading-edge practices are in place.

Convenient accessibility

Caregivers can access P&Ps at work, home, or elsewhere from a desktop, laptop, mobile phone, or other web-capable device. When P&P are conveniently accessible (as well as useful), the greater the usage among staff and caregivers, and the less likely caregivers consult other staff about a specific practice. Convenient accessibility reduces unnecessary interruptions in the healthcare facility—while increasing the probability that the latest P&P content is followed.

Reduced risk, greater accountability

P&P management software includes version control, ensuring that the latest P&P content is currently available and previous versions are archived. A verification feature records which staff members and caregivers acknowledged having read and understood the current version of P&P documents. These features reduce risks and hold employees accountable for being in compliance with the latest P&P.

Conclusion

P&P management software is providing a new credibility for developing, communicating, and managing P&P in the healthcare industry. Implementing P&P management software provides healthcare organizations a more efficient way to standardize, collaborate, track, access, and use P&P—enabling the healthcare industry to reduce risk, improve quality, and stay compliant.


Whitney A. Gutgsell is the Marketing Coordinator at PolicyStat, a provider of policy and procedure management software for hospitals, labs, outpatient clinics, and integrated health networks.

Raymond E. Urgo is Principal of Los Angeles-based Urgo & Associates, a management consultancy specializing in developing, communicating, and managing policies and procedures content and functions in organizations.