Last week’s session in HospitalPortal.net’s educational webinar series seems to have struck a chord with attendees. Comments included “I found it jam packed with great suggestions and was very pleased with the format, content of the program and how much value was included in the content. I have many ideas as a result. Thanks for the opportunity!” Other feedback from the session has consistently been appreciative of covering in fair detail a topic that rarely is granted a closer look: the nitty gritty details of meticulous document management, especially with consideration of the highly regulated nature of healthcare.
During the session, we took a close look at the traditional challenges of as well as best practices for managing policies, procedures, contracts, forms, and more. As was discussed in the session, a different level of audit trail and governance is appropriate for different types of documents, while other considerations are consistent between the types of documents managed.
For example, while contracts can typically be managed using the same workflow mechanism as policies and procedures, simple configuration changes make the same process a perfect fit. While global keywords reflecting regulatory standards are common for policies, initial term and notice to terminate are more typical for contracts. Although at first thought, it may seem that forms would not require the same degree of governance as policies and contracts, the assumption can be deceiving. Consider forms such as consent forms and HIPAA notices: these forms are also highly regulated and thus require meticulous review and may require revision before a typical review cycle due to regulatory changes.
Forms in particular present and interesting case. Although we encourage our clients to use the intranet to create electronic fillable forms to replace as many paper forms as possible, we all know paper forms will never be eradicated from hospitals. The common challenge comes in because as a whole, it seems that printed forms simply don’t get the oversight they could. As a result, hospitals end up with a flurry of departmental variations that were never approved and a hopeless web of often redundant rogue forms lacking oversight or cohesiveness.