Healthcare policy is a significant field that impacts the accessibility, pricing, and delivery of medical services. The field consists of various sub-categories such as public health, healthcare insurance, medicine, and more.
Having the right healthcare policies and procedures in place is essential for any hospital or medical facility. These policies need to be easily shared with employees, tracked for attestation, and reported to regulatory bodies.
Understanding the Basics of Healthcare Policy Management
Healthcare policy management is an important aspect of running a hospital or other healthcare organization. It encompasses the creation and deployment of policies that guide staff in the performance of their jobs and helps to ensure compliance with accrediting agencies, standards set by laws, and other requirements.
The healthcare industry includes many different entities, from government agencies to major private corporations and medical practices to small and early-stage healthcare services and products firms.
To understand how these institutions function, you need to be introduced to the politics of government and policymaking in the United States, to the organization, delivery and financing of the U.S. health care sector, including the market for health insurance, the organization and operation of large and small health care firms, and the impact of government policies, regulations and programs on these markets.
What Does a Policy Manager Do?
A policy manager is an individual who has advanced skills in the field of healthcare policy. They are responsible for ensuring that the policies of their organization are up-to-date and in compliance with industry regulations.
They also create new policies and procedures as needed. A policy manager is an important position in healthcare because it helps to ensure that the organization’s patients are receiving high-quality care.
The ideal candidate for this role has a master’s degree in public health or healthcare administration. They should also have experience working in a healthcare organization, either as a nurse or administrator. A policy manager should have excellent communication skills and be able to work well with other team members.
Using an online policy management solution can help to streamline the process of creating, updating, and distributing policies.
This tool allows you to store all of your policies in a central location, and gives you the ability to track who has read and signed off on each one.
This can help protect your organization from negligence claims and ensure that all employees are up-to-date on the latest standards.
Steps to Developing Effective Policies and Procedures
Healthcare policies help ensure patient safety, support the cost and availability of health care services, and provide guidance to organizations that are trying to address specific issues.
While the process of creating healthcare policies varies depending on your organization and industry, there are several key steps that must be taken to ensure that your policies are effective and compliant.
The first step is to gather information about the subject matter of your policy. This can include analyzing current data and gathering feedback from stakeholders. Once you have all of the necessary information, it’s time to start drafting your policy.
When your policy is drafted, it’s important to review and approve it before it is implemented and communicated to employees.
This is where a policy committee comes into play, which should be composed of representatives from various departments (for example, compliance, HR, pharmacy, billing/coding, etc.).
Once your policies are in place, it’s critical to make them accessible to employees. This can be done by providing a central library of policies through a document and policy management solution. This will allow employees to quickly find the policies they need and feel confident that what they’re accessing is up to date and accurate.
Compliance with Regulatory Requirements
A key aspect of healthcare policy management is ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements. This includes maintaining compliance with the Affordable Care Act, state laws and regulations, CMS Conditions of Participation, Joint Commission standards and other accreditation agencies. This requires timely creation, sharing and distribution of policies to staff.
Policies are also used to prevent medical errors and improve the quality of patient care. For example, incident management policies set a workflow to document and share an account of any patient, visitor or employee harm, so the cause can be identified and prevented in the future.
It is important for organizations to keep an eye on emerging regulatory issues and develop policies that meet current or future requirements.
This is a critical part of risk mitigation, as non-compliance can result in financial penalties, including loss of Medicare or commercial insurance contracts and the ability to accept certain credit cards.
Policy Implementation and Evaluation
Whether it’s an administrative policy, HR policy, or IT policy, having formal documents in place can help ensure that your healthcare organization is following best practices and staying in compliance with regulations.
It also helps reduce the risk of misunderstandings or oversights that could lead to regulatory issues or lawsuits.
Effective healthcare policies can provide guidance for patients, hospitals and the entire healthcare system. Having protocols in place can prevent human error and increase the quality of care that patients receive.
Healthcare policies can help reduce unwarranted variations in medical practice by standardizing clinical procedures and ensuring adherence to best practices.
Although different healthcare organizations may have unique needs, all need a robust policy management solution that provides an organized framework for creating and managing policies.
A streamlined policy management tool allows you to create and update policies with ease, track revisions, and communicate these updates to the rest of your staff. It can also provide validation when it comes time for an inspection or audit by a regulatory or accrediting body.
Having an organized system in place can also reduce the likelihood of additional on-site visits or fines.
Strategies for Adopting Organizational Culture of Compliance
It’s not enough to simply create policies and procedures; they need to be communicated and enforced consistently. The best way to do this is by making compliance part of the organizational culture, a commitment that must start from the top and trickle down throughout the company.
This requires leadership to fully embrace compliance as an essential part of the company’s ethics and ethos, and it means demonstrating that commitment by setting a positive example.
It also means establishing clear, straightforward goals and outcomes that can be measured and rewarded, and making the connection between compliance and business success, so that the C-suite understands the serious legal, financial and reputational risks of noncompliance.
It’s important to regularly update and retrain on healthcare policy and procedure, so that employees are aware of new regulations and standards.
Using healthcare policy management software can make this process easier, by providing a single location where hospitals and healthcare facilities can store, edit, review, approve, distribute, and track their policies and SOPs in one place.
Using Technology to Streamline Healthcare Policy Management
For healthcare organizations, policies are a key component of their ability to deliver top quality patient care, mitigate risk, meet regulatory requirements, and reduce liability.
Having a powerful policy management solution is necessary to streamline everyday operations, provide top-quality customer service, and meet accreditation standards.
Using a document and policy management software solution can help you save time, improve efficiency, and get everyone “singing from the same songbook” when it comes to their day-to-day work.
This can also help you reduce the likelihood of negligent claims, as it allows you to track the history of when a policy was created or edited, and who signed and tested on it.
Many different types of healthcare operations have their own unique sets of policies and procedures that need to be followed. Hospitals and long-term care centers have their own set of policies relating to staffing, equipment management, vendor requirements, and more.
These types of healthcare organizations need to be able to quickly access the latest version of their policies in order to ensure that they are working on the most up-to-date content. This is where a healthcare-specific document and policy management solution can be helpful.
Healthcare policy management is a complex yet essential process that requires a deep understanding of regulation and compliance.
By having an in-depth knowledge of both the public and private sector as well as staying up to date with all relevant policies, organizations can ensure they are providing the best healthcare possible while avoiding costly fines or penalties.
With proper guidance and attention to detail, healthcare policy management can be a successful tool for any organization.