On a normal day, you’re primarily in your office but today, you’re on the floor covering for someone who is out sick. Out the corner of your eye, you notice one of your staff carrying out a procedure using an outdated method. Didn’t he get the message? We talked about this at the staff meeting two days ago! You drop what you’re doing, pull the employee aside, show him the current procedure, and instruct him to use it going forward.
in your office, you have a moment to reflect. Who else didn’t get
the message? Has anyone
actually read the new procedure? Two hours and several conversations
later, it’s obvious that everyone did not
the message. This means more follow-up to ensure that there are no
downstream consequences. This also means another email to the staff
and another reminder at the staff meeting tomorrow morning. Your
Lean instructor would call this “rework” - the effort required to
correct a defect in a process. What a mess.
change across a department or across an Enterprise is hard work.
During a crisis, the challenges are amplified. “Managing by
walking around” (MBWA) is a proven management tactic. The broader
your area of responsibilities, however, the more difficult and less
practical this becomes. While manual reporting from various
locations has value, it is still fraught with error and is oftentimes
all adopted automated electronic solutions in our lines of work –
electronic prescriptions, lab orders, patient instructions, EHRs and
more. In fact, we wouldn’t dream of going back to a manual
paper-based system in those areas. Document management should be on
Consider all of the documents that have been updated in your facility during the COVID-19 pandemic:
they reviewed and approved through proper channels? What date did
they go out? What version was it? Is the old version archived
properly? Was the process Lean? Did your staff read their
documents...and can you prove it?
document control creates a transparent, visible portal that gives
everyone visibility, 24/7 access to documents, speeds up knowledge
transfer and cuts down on finger-pointing. It also creates
accountability that goes both ways and management especially loves a
good audit trail. Knowing exactly who authored, reviewed, approved
and then read each of those documents is critical. Having an
attestation statement signed by each reader is priceless. You will
know who is “getting the message”, and you’ll have another
arrow in your quiver when it come time to hold people accountable.
control keeps your staff current which ultimately improves
employee morale and reduces conflict. Most employees like to be
informed and following up-to-date procedures and processes. They can
get as frustrated as management when they aren’t aware of what
process has changed due to the organization lacking a cohesive system
for document management. Staff members don’t like being called out
when they also would like to have followed the right procedure.
Management also has clear information when consistently difficult
staff members fail to stay current.
finally, when an audit occurs, you can show the inspector exactly
where you stand with policies and procedures, by location,
department, and even by workstation and employee. For all parties
involved, these types of automated systems make the entire inspection
process more efficient and usually means fewer deficiencies.
one joined the healthcare ranks to push paper. However, especially as
individuals move into management, it becomes part of the
job. Healthcare has regulatory requirements and training protocols
that will always be part of the industry.
tracking procedures and regulations is endless, you don’t have to
be buried in piles of paper. Quality
automated document control will take any organization to the next
level. Automated document control means you can stop hunting down
paper copies of documents that have to be replaced with newer
versions and publish and archive those documents electronically
instead. You can stop worrying about who has read what and gain the
peace of mind that comes with real-time reporting. Get a handle on
the adoption of new practices in your Enterprise with informative
we all push through this pandemic, we will all be reflecting on what
went well and what we need to change as quickly as possible. We just
had an unplanned, full-scale training exercise and got to see how our
organization functioned under extreme pressure. Many of us are seeing
the limits of our manual systems
and realize it’s time to implement Lean processes like automated
In the end, you will have significantly fewer headaches, a calmer management environment and more time to focus on what matters most, your patients.
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