How to Modernize Your Policies and Procedures
According to a recent report, 96% of general acute care practices have implemented some type of Electronic Health Record (EHR) system. In addition, 97% of pediatric practices and 75% of specialists use EHR platforms.
These systems serve as digital records of a patient’s paper chart. When digitized, these records can be stored more securely and shared across multiple healthcare settings. While EHR adoption is one step in the right direction, the reality is that it’s the only step that some practices have taken to modernize and automate their procedures.
Across the country, hospitals are still widely keeping their most critical documents, including facility policies and procedures, in binders behind their desks. When employees need access to this information, it can be a challenge to track down the right file and location.
There are tools that can help you shift into a more productive, automated, and efficient workspace. Today, we’re sharing how to embrace technology and re-imagine your administrative approach.
The State of Document Management in Healthcare
In any healthcare setting, there are rules and regulations that dictate the flow of everyday work. From in-house policies to industry-wide, governmental requirements, your employees are required to follow rigorous standards to ensure patient safety and maintain a high level of care.
These controls serve many important functions, allowing organizations to:
- Demonstrate regulatory compliance
- Establish and implement workflows
- Ensure safety and security measures are in place
- Equip workers with critical information
Once you create a document that details these procedures, it rarely stays stagnant. Your office teams will need to edit, update, and revise it on a regular basis. If your practice still relies on a paper-based approach to document management, that means someone has to manually insert a new page into each binder or remove an outdated one every time to ensure the system stays up-to-date.
As you can imagine, this isn’t what most team members anticipated when they decided to enter the medical field. While some degree of administrative work is to be expected, spending hours each week tracking down files can negatively affect productivity, performance, and employee morale.
In a recent survey by Medical Economics, 31% of primary care doctors cited paperwork as the chief factor contributing to their feelings of burnout. In fact, this burden ranked as the biggest source of their frustration, even eclipsing a lack of work/life balance, which came in at number two.
The Importance of Automating Policy-Related Tasks
When your organization makes the move from manual, paper-based policy-keeping to an automated document management system, you can immediately relieve some of the most pressing barriers to productivity.
Let’s take a look at a few of the reasons to make the switch.
Track Access and Use
When your policy records are digitized, you can track who has viewed, signed, or changed them in any way. This adds an extra layer to your data security approach, helping to ensure that only individuals with authorized access can handle them.
Paper documents aren’t just cumbersome to store and organize. They can also get lost if they’re put back in the wrong location. In addition, they’re also more vulnerable to theft.
When they’re digital, your employees always know where to go to find the information they need. There’s no risk of losing or misplacing the files, and as long as the software includes proper security protocols, it’s also secure against theft, hacking, and other attacks.
Easily Adapt to Changing Requirements
Healthcare public policy changes rapidly. In addition, you may also update rules and procedures at your practice to stay in line with current trends and expectations.
When your policies are automated, you only have to make the edit once. Then, everyone will see the change as soon as they log in. This isn’t the case with paper-based records, which your staff would have to manually change in each instance.
When you’re wrangling binders, you also run the risk of updating the wrong documents, or not making the required change in full.
Enable Safe, Effective Collaboration
A digital document management solution doesn’t just serve as a secure portal to hold all of your in-house records. It also enables teamwork and collaboration across the departments at your facility.
With these tools, there’s no need to email documents back and forth. Not only is it time-consuming, but sending files electronically also increases the risk of a cyberattack. Secure, cloud-based platforms give employees shared file access so they can find the information they need, as soon as they need it.
Reduce Administrative Costs
Even in small practices, it can be expensive to print and bind procedural documents. Then, there are the extra costs incurred any time you have to make a revision.
When you go digital, you can eliminate those associated expenses. This frees up a portion of your budget to be spent on more mission-focused, value-adding initiatives.
How to Make the Switch to Digital
Deciding to implement any type of technology in your organization can seem like a daunting endeavor. This is especially the case if your staff has grown comfortable and familiar with the workflows you’ve used for years.
Fortunately, you don’t have to overhaul all of your existing systems, software, and best practices. Let’s take a look at some of the steps that can help your organization embrace digital transformation on a gradual scale.
Start With a Baseline Analysis
Before diving into any new technologies, begin by looking at the tools that you already have in place, including your legacy systems. Take the time to evaluate what’s working and where any pain points exist.
Conduct a Needs Assessment
Next, work with your project team to understand what each department needs in terms of technology and automation. You can conduct process mapping to understand where you can gain efficiencies by simply updating or revising a workflow, rather than purchasing new software.
Most often, you’ll find that bottlenecks and siloes can only be eliminated with an IT investment.
Execute the Upgrade
Once you know what you need, you can begin researching vendors that offer the tools you require. While there are myriad different ways you can automate and update your healthcare organization, two of the most basic steps include:
Paperless companies have more than just a lower carbon footprint. They also enjoy fewer costs, less waste, and a more organized file environment. If you’ve already gone paperless with EHR, move on to digitizing your administrative documents, including office policies and workflows.
Look for a platform that includes a range of different features designed to simplify this part of your workday. The XenonChex app is one example, with tools that automate:
- Task scheduling and management
- Custom form creation
- Training material development
- Document storage and organization
- Reporting and forecasting
Embrace the Cloud
Flexible cloud platforms make healthcare environments more efficient and protected. When you move your files onto these networks, you can:
- Keep all of your records in a safe and secure environment
- Utilize high-speed data transfers
- Increase practice-wide security measures
- Ensure safe, accessible document flow
- Reduce administrative costs
- Lay the groundwork for more expansive Big Data applications
Ensure Ongoing Analysis and Support
Once your new systems are in place, it’s important to monitor their results. Early in your project, set key performance indicators (KPIs) to define how you’ll measure success. Then, once you go live with your software, track those KPIs to ensure it’s delivering the value you expect.
It’s also important to support your teams throughout this transition. While the technology side of the change is important, the “people” side matters too. To ensure user adoption and avoid costly downtime, equip your employees with the resources and knowledge they need to make the best use of the new technology at their fingertips.
Say Goodbye to Paper Policies and Embrace Digital Documentation
The policies and procedures you implement at your healthcare organization affect every aspect of how it operates. Not only do they keep your employees on task, but they also keep your patients safe.
If you’re still storing these critical documents in binders and files, it’s time to move on to a more modern, automated solution. Our app makes it easy to complete this step, helping you set your practice up for a more extensive digital transformation.
Check out all of the features on our web page and contact us to schedule a free demo!