September's policy review is streamlined with this new tool
In July, Cape Cod Healthcare launched PolicyStat, a new online policy management tool which provides a centralized place to search, view and print all Cape Cod Healthcare policies. And soon, the updating begins. Starting in September, managers will begin using PolicyStat to update CCHC policies that are due for reviews using this new app.
PolicyStat is an easy-to-use database that is available to all CCHC employees through the CCHC intranet. The tool is the primary source for a wide range of policies and regulations, including those from CCH, FH, the VNA of Cape Cod, Cape Cod Human Services and CCHC corporate departments. On PolicyStat, employees can search subject areas from clinical policies to HR standards such as a dress code.
Many of these policies were last updated in 2017 anticipating Joint Commission visits, and the new updating process using PolicyStat will make the upcoming necessary reviews, edits and approvals much easier to manage, according to Lynn Shields, RN, BSN, MBA, director of clinical and research compliance.
To date, employees have been able to search, view and print policies, but a rolling editing and approval process will begin on September 28, when PolicyStat will be fully functional. The system will hold the official policies and when they are due for review are routed to the correct person for edits and approvals.
This will include a new workflow for managers, who will receive emails alerting them ahead of policy update deadlines at 90-, 60- and 30-day intervals. Future alerts can then be set by the policy owners and approvers, according to their own preferences. Some departments, like the Blood Center, may need to be reviewed and approved annually. Many other departments will review policies every three years.
“We’re asking managers to carefully check the quality of what’s in the system to see if any policy is missing or has inaccuracies. Once a manger or policy owner is confident the content on PolicyStat is accurate and complete, they should arrange to take down versions of policies that are also on the intranet,” Shields said. Policy owners have been asked to acknowledge their responsibilities via an assignment in HealthStream.
The editing process is all electronic and changes made by policy owners will show up as the ‘track changes’ function such as the one used in Microsoft Word, Shields said. Policy approvers will be able to see the suggested edits and make edits. If an approver thinks additional edits are needed, their edits are also visible and the policy is routed back to the owners for further review.
“One of the best features of PolicyStat is that only the most current, approved policies are available when a search is done, but policy owners can retrieve retired versions.” Starting on Sept. 28, policies that are due for review will begin to move through the system for edits and approvals, eliminating the need for paper records. New policies can also be created at that time. A very exciting feature of PolicyStat is that attachments can be added to policies, including forms, check lists or PDFs that can be printed out for use.
“It’s really amazing to find what you’re looking for so easily and to know it is the current policy,” Shields said.
Shields said the ease-of-use of PolicyStat is what will make it an effective tool for updating or finding current policies.
“It has a fantastic search engine, like a Google search, to find a policy when you don’t know the name or department. You can search by key words or by area/department. It’s so much better than searching on the intranet. We hope everyone will give it a try.”