4 Key Takeaways from Beaumont Health's Journey to Effective Policy Management
Beaumont Health is the largest health system in Michigan and was established in 2014 when three hospital systems, Beaumont Health system, Oakwood Healthcare Inc. and Botsford General Hospital, came together. The health system now employees 38,000 employees and encompasses eight hospitals and 167 outpatient locations. Ilene Hirsch MPA, OTR and Gail Juleff MSN, RN have served as Beaumont’s Policy Project Managers for the last five years. We had the pleasure of hearing from Gail and Ilene at Virtual Connections 2020 where they offered key insights around maintaining an effective policy management program.
Didn’t have a chance to attend or need a refresher? We put together four key takeaways from “Journeying to Effective Policy Management with RLDatix's PolicyStat Platform.”
1. Communication is key–– every step of the way
When Beaumont selected PolicyStat as their policy management solution, the organisation recognised the importance of effectively and efficiently communicating this information to key stakeholders. Beaumont sent out mass communications to policy owners and contacts about the policy management system change to help ensure that everyone was fully informed on what this meant moving forward.
In addition to Beaumont’s communications around PolicyStat, the organisation continued to implement communication strategies to keep staff up to date on important policy related information. Beaumont’s intranet is a key place for staff to easily access information around policy management. Gail and Ilene created a “Check it Out” section on the page to highlight specific policies that are relevant for most of the organisation to be up to speed on.
Good communication at the start of a process should carry through to the end. With this in mind, Gail and Ilene developed a “Final Steps” process. For every document that is published in the system, they send out an email to effectively “close the loop.” This includes the name of the document that was published, the education plan that the document owner noted on their policy checklist document and the names of related documents that can be archived.
2. Establish clear processes from the beginning
Gail and Ilene have implemented several processes to support policy management at Beaumont. To start, policies that impact all facilities within the health system must be reviewed and vetted by Beaumont’s Policy and Forms Steering committee before these documents are published in PolicyStat. During this time, policy owners or contacts are given the opportunity to present their content to the committee. There are currently 13 members of the committee including Beaumont’s Vice President of Nursing, Nursing Policy Manager, Senior Director of Compliance, Senior VP Compliance, Pharmacy Manager, System Librarian, Manager-Forms Management and many more. Local documents that do not pertain to the entire organisation are vetted by Gail and Ilene.
Beaumont also developed a policy checklist that must be completed for each document (takeaway number four provides details of the criteria included in the checklist). If a policy needs to be reviewed by a separate group due to its content or controversy, policies are referred to the Clinical Management Team’s Policy Sub-Team for further discussion. Some policies that have been sent to this team for review include Beaumont’s updated policy on policies, chain of command, critical values and order sets policies.
3. Identify what software features matter to you and your team
When Gail and Ilene began their roles as Policy Project Managers, they inherited a legacy policy management solution. As they published more policies, they continued to encounter more challenges with this system. These challenges ranged from remote access issues to problems with upgrade and maintenance, which left the organisation without a system for hours at a time.
Once Beaumont started searching for a new policy management solution, the organisation developed twenty-five questions that would help them narrow down which vendors could be a good fit for the organisation. Some questions centred around how the software would integrate with Beaumont’s electronic health record system, EPIC and clinical nursing skills platform, Lippincott.
Based on feedback from users and the Beaumont team, they established a list of criteria that they wanted to see in a new software including:
- Access to support if questions or issues arise
- Robust, Google-like searching capabilities
- Software updates with no interference or disruption
- Ease with remote access
- Documents with professional and consistent formatting
4. Set your team up for success with effective and accessible resources
Over the last five years, Gail and Ilene have created several resources to support Beaumont staff in their policy management efforts. Some of these resources included a policy/procedure checklist that is attached to their policy on policies. Each new policy that is uploaded to the system must have a policy checklist document completed first. Some of the questions asked on the checklist include:
- Whether it is a site-specific document, for multiple sites or for the entire organisation
- If the organisation’s legal department has reviewed the document
- And a plan of action for education which can range from informing staff on where the document is located to a thorough plan around the policy’s content
Beaumont has also created a designated policy page on the organisation’s intranet. The policy page includes links to PolicyStat resources and “Check It Out” policies that are relevant to the majority of the health system. In addition to PolicyStat’s robust Learning Center, Gail and Ilene have created articles to help set Beaumont users up for success when using the software.
Some of these articles include tips for effectively writing policies including “words of choice” that outlines suggestions on how to make policy language clear. With three health systems coming together to form one, Beaumont also created a Policy and Forms Steering committee to help drive organisational unity.
The power of policy management at Beaumont Health
We can learn a lot from Beaumont Health’s journey to effective policy management with PolicyStat, but the takeaways that stand out include the organisation’s commitment to effective communication, robust processes, understanding what product features matter most to their staff and promoting resources to drive user adoption.
Whether you’re just getting started in your policy management journey or looking to build upon your organisation’s existing efforts, RLDatix is here to help with a tool to improve performance and compliance around your policies and procedures.