It is not always easy for healthcare administrative personnel to keep up with everything they have to do. In addition to working on the floor and making sure all staff are doing the work they were hired to do, it is also necessary to update policies and procedures so they remain current, communicate with hospital staff, and make sure everything remains compliant at every level. To keep up with everything and also keep it all organized is a major challenge.

Because of the difficultyof juggling so many tasks at once, a policy management system may be your best bet. It will almost certainly become your best friend. For example, with so many compliance requirements placed on hospitals, long term care organizations, and other healthcare organizations by the Medicare system, it is absolutely imperative to always be up-to-date on Medicare policy.

Everyone knows that all of the steps needed to review, revise, and approve a policy can be very time consuming. Also, if anything goes wrong at any point in the process, the system can become disorganized very quickly, especially if you are still using paper stored in file cabinets and boxes. By setting up and implementing a policy management system, you will be able to automate your policy making process and keep everything organized, even as you make sure you are always compliant with Medicare regulations. There are many ways that a policy manager can make Medicare and Medicaid compliance easier, but here are a few:

All workflow is online, accessible and transparent. When you decide to choose a policy management software vendor, choose one capable of providing all of the services you need. Whether you choose an installed or cloud-based system, it should be web-based and completely secure using Active Directory. By digitizing the process, you will make it possible for users to start any part of the workflow almost instantaneously. With features like inline word editing, revisions can be made quickly and simply, while acknowledging read policies takes no more than a few simple clicks. Make sure your policy manager is able to attach messages to policies as they move through the process from one step to the next.

Security is more robust.  Because an added layer of security is always preferable, it is possible for policy moderators to request acknowledgement and read requests to staff before publishing a policy. Not only does this allow you to ensure staff is aware of newly updated policies, but you can also have a good idea that the policy has been read, since it’s not possible to attest without opening and reviewing the document. This type of feature is especially important for new hires or staff who are transitioning into new roles.

Electronic searching replaces manual searching. Imagine never again having to dig through boxes of hard copies to find what you want to having to search endlessly on a server in an attempt to find policies. The old way of looking for policy documents can be over forever, since a policy management system will include a very powerful search feature that will remind you of an online search. You can type in a document name, a document number or just a few keywords and find what you’re looking for immediately. Also, since everything is uploaded to the system, you’ll never lose a policy, and you’ll never face the phenomenon of staff members taking a page or a policy out of a binder and not returning it.

You can automate notifications and reminders. Users always want to know the status of policy updates throughout the revision process, and with a robust policy management system, everyone will always have access to the status of every policy in the process. They can be notified via email updates, or they can receive on-screen notifications or control panel reminders. However you choose to set up the notification system, users will always know the status of each policy undergoing the revision process. Those staff members who are involved in the revision process will be notified when it is their turn in the workflow, and they will also know what is needed from them. This way, administrators will know that employees are organized and up-to-date, and they will also know that policies are revised and approved in a timely manner. Also, staff will no longer see expired policies, since only updated policies will be accessible on the policy management system.

Keep track of all versions as you work through the process. There are many times, like during compliance audits or even legal actions, when you may want to look back to an earlier version of a policy. Most automated policy management systems provide reporting tools that will document each version and archive previous versions by date. That means you can identify which policy was in effect on a particular date and your system can alert you as to the status of draft, updated, or expiring documents.

Create reports and organized archives. With a robust policy management system, reports can be created in a variety of formats and customized according to specific information. Always having backups available can be important, and with an automated system, you will never again worry about organizing them or even losing them.