Ever had a day where nothing went the way you thought it would when you woke up? Your favorite shirt you wanted to wear is dirty, your car is on empty, and you’re running late to the office; once there, you are faced with the challenges of an unexpected visitor waiting for you.
You are then asked to discuss your operational processes and provide all the necessary documentation for audit purposes to demonstrate health care regulatory compliance and maintain licensure or accreditation status. What happens to your stress levels when the accreditation organization or state regulatory personnel make an unannounced visit to your organization to perform an operational and clinical audit?
If you’re like most managers, you are tasked with daily challenges of overseeing clinical activities and driving operational functions to make them run smoothly. Like many organizations, maintaining health care organizational transparency, process implementations, and continuous process improvement, all while focusing on change management and employee engagement can be taxing for anyone.
Maintaining centralized document management in healthcare is a necessity if you want to get through an audit. In most businesses, there are many personnel with various copies of policies, procedures, and guidelines. Some of those have been updated, some are outdated in a reference binder, and some are somewhere on the computer system, but today you can’t seem to locate that needed document.
How embarrassing for a manager to not be able to locate a critical operational document. Do you ever contemplate how to improve your organization’s document management system? Like most workplace cultures, if you’re the experienced manager, you may find yourself saying, “That’s not our policy, we actually do it this way now”.
Ask yourself how a new employee would be made aware of a policy that is not actually updated or written down because everyone who works there, “just knows”. Could this lack of knowledge have a potentially negative impact on patient care or meeting regulatory compliance guidelines?
Would a computerized central document management system that can easily be updated and logged into solve those issues? The communication among a team within an organization could be improved greatly with a centralized database of up-to-date policies and procedures that even employees could easily reach by simply logging into the database as needed.
Not only would this improve employee compliance with organizational processes and requirements, but it could effectively improve patient safety and consistency with care. Management would no longer waste valuable productivity hours trying to explain processes over and over to employees who aren’t able to retain each step; they could simply refer the employee to log in to the database and review the information at leisure.
This accessibility of information also increases the employees’ accountability to know the processes and follow them. Do you think updating critical organizational documents would be much easier and likely sustainable with updates? To add to the pressures of maintaining compliance, comes new HIPAA compliance audits, not only in the health care industry, but IT professionals are now nervous and potentially unprepared for their own compliance audits.
According to a recent 2015 article, it’s just a matter of time before these audits take place. A survey was conducted and 18% of the respondents stated that they would rather undergo a root canal than go through a compliance audit. Organizations from health care to IT are nervous about the HIPAA audits.
Regardless of how nervous each organization is, they still need to remain diligent in staying compliant with all federal and state laws; this includes having all the required documentation in place such as HIPAA authorization forms, release of information forms, HIPAA privacy rights, documentation on how protected information is utilized within the organization, and processes associated with maintaining required compliance.
Would developing process checklists prior to your audits improve preparedness? Having access to those checklists could ease fears of not meeting regulatory compliance. Utilizing internal checklists on a regular basis for continuous process improvement would not only allow for a manager to have greater control over identified issues for improvement, but would ease the fears of being unprepared for essential audits.
Ever try to operate an organization without fundamental documentation? It is not possible. Even health care employee development requires documentation. If documentation can’t be avoided, why not make that process of managing all the critical documents effortless? As with any organization, a feedback system is part of the continuous improvement process; how does your organization currently perform this operation?
Is it formal or informal? Does everyone even know the process within your organization on how to provide feedback? What if all this could be as simply as a ‘mouse-click’ at your fingertips right from your desk? Think back to the beginning scenario of a day in your life as a manager; you’re asked to assist with providing the necessary documentation for a regulatory audit review.
Knowing the issues that you could be faced within in this scenario, which path would you choose? The one where documentation is scattered throughout the organization with assorted versions, or just plain missing, or the path where all these crucial documents including policies, processes, checklists, and employee documentation is all in the same location accessible by yourself or other management team members on any given day?
Even if your morning commute didn’t meet your expectations at the start of your day, why not make your work day less stressful? After all, don’t you deserve to shine as the star employee that you are? Organized documentation is vital to operate a successful business; if your company needs a solution to this issue, why not offer a solution: A centralized document management system.
Snell, E. (2015, June 29). Healthcare not only industry nervous about compliance audits.
Retrieved from http://healthitsecurity.com/news/healthcare-not-only-industry-nervous- about-compliance-audits