Mmmm. Breath deep. Can you smell it? Can you feel it? No, not the pumpkin lattes or sprigs of spruce and pine. It’s more like stale coffee and the gentle clicking of keys on the computer.
Yes! ‘Tis the season for evaluating training programs and checking everything twice to make sure you’re on CMS’ and The Joint Commission’s nice lists.
To get you in the spirit, we’ve put together a three-part blog series, 12 Days of Compliance, to keep your organization on track through the rest of the year and on into 2021.
Part 3: Automate Everything
Let’s face it, compliance is tough. Between turnover, regulatory updates, remote staff and multiple facilities, you’re juggling a million things and that doesn’t include your main priorities: patient outcomes or financial status.
Traditional methods of pen and paper or spreadsheets costs you time, resources and money and opens you up to risk. Technology allows you to build consistency and streamline practices and processes through automation – making compliance much more manageable. Read below to learn four ways technology can help check compliance off your list.
4. Automated Onboarding
According to SHRM, 69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they have a great onboarding experience.
One of the defining features of a great onboarding experience is organization.
You want to show your new employees that you have everything under control.
They’re entering a new environment bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to conquer a new challenge.
If you spend the majority of their first day running around trying to figure out what they’re supposed to be doing, the excitement that they have about entering a new position is going to be drained quickly.
Instead of thinking “wow, this is where I belong,” they’ll be thinking something along the lines of “did I really leave my last job for this?”
One of the best ways to organize your onboarding and avoid any buyer’s remorse from your new staff member is through automation.
You need a system in place that will automatically send policies, procedures and trainings to new hires as soon as they enter the system based on their job role.
The next time you hire a nurse, they should automatically be assigned everything they need to complete with due dates.
No more shuffling through papers or hitting CTRL +F in your spreadsheet as part of your onboarding process.
This means that instead of taking up their first day frantically trying to remember what they’re supposed to be doing, you can take the time to get to know your new employee.
They’ll be spending their time thinking about how much they’re going to enjoy working with you, not making mental notes to look for a new job once they get home.
3. Content is King
Stop me if this sounds familiar.
It’s Monday morning. You get to the office and settle in. Coffee on your desk and croissant in your hand, you go through your email.
As you start to get your brain working on this fine Monday morning, you see everyone’s least favorite combination of words:
Here we go again.
You’ve got to figure out what the new regulations are, when they’re going to hit and how to get your staff trained up to stay in compliance with the newest changes.
The DVDs you have aren’t up to date anymore. The person you bring in to train your staff might not update their presentation by the time you need training.
To stay compliant, you need access to the most up-to-date courses. You need a partner that is going to not just react to the latest changes in regulations, but proactively update their material to keep up state and federal shifts.
That content should be given to you automatically. While you’re sleeping, they should be keeping their courses up-to-date.
As you evaluate training solutions, make sure your asking this question – what is your process for updating your courses?
If they don’t have a clear answer or aren’t regularly updating their course content, your staff isn’t being given what they need to stay compliant.
On top of just being out of compliance, giving your staff out-of-date training also means they’re not going to be providing the highest-quality care, which puts those you care for at risk.
Maximize your time and give your staff the tools they need to succeed with a partner that automatically updates their content for you.
2. Corporate Compliance: Your Most Important P’s – Paper Is Not One of Them
Needless to say, corporate compliance is important. Policies and procedures management plays a huge role in this, but your maintenance method might be creating inefficiency and intentionally introducing risk. Let’s find out.
Can you answer yes to any of the following questions?
- Still keeping track of your policies and procedures by storing hard copies in large, dusty binders?
- Is it a hassle to make sure employees have reviewed and signed them to remain compliant?
- Trouble identifying which version of the procedures is the most current?
- Are you managing your policies and procedures manually?
If so, then it might be time to change things up. And believe us, friend, you are not alone.
Thankfully, there is absolutely a better way: Automate the process.
Say farewell to paper and hello to efficiency and consistency! Imagine it:
- No more heavy binders with outdated information
- Upload, assign, review, and report on policies and procedures
- Clinical procedures that are always in check with current best practices
- Confirmation receipt of policies and procedures from everyone in your organization
- Efficient tracking and reporting of revisions and approvals for historical reference and liability reduction
Your time is valuable. By automating you can help drive efficiency, improve compliance and save time to focus on the most important thing – ensuring quality care.
A digital or online system can make policies and procedures management easily accessible, current and consistent.
Establishing better operational efficiency by which you can upload, distribute, revise and report on policies and procedures helps with onboarding and training, as well as making survey and audit preparation far less daunting.
But when making this transition, you’re going to want to consider the following:
- Version Control: Can you update documents as your policies and procedures change, upload new versions, change version numbers and/or add notes? With so many regulatory changes in the industry, you’re going to want to be able to quickly and efficiently save versions as drafts for review, and get them approved and published with the click of a button.
- Auto-Enrollment: New hires are costly and time consuming. A system that can identify who matches specific staff profiles and auto-enroll them into the appropriate set of policies and procedures can streamline the process for you.
- Attestation Statements: Whether federally mandated or internally requested, enabling staff to read and “sign off” on policies and procedures can help to mitigate risk and keep you from spending hours tracking down each staff member.
- Reporting: Depending on your organization’s priorities, you may require reports on different data points. Consider your organization –assigned document or individual staff member? Whatever it is, make sure you can view a detailed breakdown of completion and compliance statistics.
- Permissions: Will you be able to specify which users can manage policies and procedures binders and the documents within them? This will help to maintain the integrity and consistency of the P&P.
Bottom line, it’s time to recycle the binders, pencil and paper. An online policies & procedures management tool can significantly streamline your ability to track, assign, update and report on policies and procedures, saving your organization valuable time and resources.
1. One Robust/Magical Platform
“Platform” is something we hear quite often in IT, and it’s becoming ever more prevalent in healthcare. These online systems might be described as “robust” or “comprehensive.”
These words are just enough to give a general idea of what they mean, but it’s vague enough that you don’t totally know what it does. Think of it this way: platforms are kind of like a house. Sounds a bit bizarre, but let’s break this down.
Beds are a wonderful thing.
So are dishwashers and couches and washers and dryers.
These are all tools that make your life easier, but without a home to put them in, they’re not very helpful.
From this lens, platforms are the framework (or foundation) by which to build upon and leverage additional technology. So in healthcare, a platform might include a learning management system in addition to other tools.
When you’re “house” shopping, you’re considering the size and scope of the home and asking yourself: Do I want a condo? Studio? 2-bedroom apartment? Beach house?
You’re considering the amenities: AC, electric vs gas heating, washer/dryer, etc.
It’s important to do the same when “shopping” around for a new platform: does it have automatic tracking? Custom reporting? Include educational content? CEs? HRIS integration?
Like purchasing a house, price is always a factor. Much like buying a fixer-upper verses a ready to move-in home, there are time and cost savings to think about.
While the fixer-upper might cost less, you’re going to be putting a lot more time and money into getting it to be what you want – and let’s face it, it might never get there. A ready to move in home might cost more, but it’s more a matter of putting on a fresh coat of paint and you’re set.
Think about it this way. You rent an apartment without a washing machine and a dryer.
Every Tuesday, you now have to load up the car, drive to the laundromat, forget your quarters, drive back home, drive back to the laundromat and wash your clothes.
Did your clothes still get washed? Yes.
Did you spend 3 hours at a laundromat when you could’ve been watching TV on your couch? Also yes.
It’s the same concept when thinking about a LMS platform.
Can you track compliance without one? Yes.
Will your life be much easier having everything in one place? Of course it will.
Similar to homes, it’s important to think about platforms as an investment towards your long-term goals.
When it comes to compliance, these platforms can automate tracking and reporting, streamline processes, create consistency, enhance training, and improve performance, making compliance nearly a breeze.
Compared to traditional methods of pen and paper or spreadsheets, a holistic platform can be downright magical.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2019 and has been updated with new content.