About Sanford Health
Sanford Health is the largest rural nonprofit health care system, with 43 hospitals, nearly 250 clinics, and 27,000 employees across nine states. Sanford’s mission is to improve the human condition through exceptional care, innovation and discovery. They do this in part by setting policies that ensure employees follow best practices to deliver excellent patient care.
The Challenge: A Scattered Approach
"It's important for patients to get the level of care they need, based on the most advanced guidelines and technology." - Kathleen Mackeprang, RN Special Projects Coordinator
Setting and managing policies is an important challenge for hospitals. With a never-ending flow of regulations, the number of policies can become a burden on employees if they’re not well maintained. Each of Sanford’s major hospitals was using a separate system for writing, updating and distributing policies. Over time, it became an increasingly disorganized approach. The smaller clinics in the Sanford system had to rely on paper copies or locally stored electronic versions of policies that were scattered, hard to track down and sometimes outdated. It was impossible to audit the policies and ensure employees were aware of the latest guidelines.
“In the past, staff might search for half an hour and have no hope of finding the policies they were looking for. Increasing their access to information is huge—being able to quickly find the policies that apply to you.”
When it came time for Sanford leadership to revise policies or draft new ones, documents would be mailed from one person’s desk to another, with multiple versions getting mixed up—a frustrating arrangement that was almost impossible to track.
Sanford was dealing with some distinct challenges:
- Employees weren’t certain which policies applied to them
- Sanford couldn’t manage policies centrally across the whole hospital system
- Sanford’s leadership had no way to efficiently review, update and distribute policies
Kathleen Mackeprang, RN Special Projects Coordinator at Sanford Health, is responsible for policy implementation strategy. She recognized the benefits of standardization across the entire hospital system. A centralized policy management system would save time and money. It would also ensure employees were aware of all applicable policies, keep Sanford’s policies consistent and reduce unnecessary risk. To accomplish this, Sanford began working with NAVEX Global to implement PolicyTech.
The Solution: Standardization with PolicyTech
As Sanford Health began implementing PolicyTech, Mackeprang worked with an internal team representing nursing, clinical care, legal, compliance, risk management and IT. They set up the system as a centralized policy resource—making sure employees could quickly find the policies they needed, increasing consistency across the Sanford system, and streamlining reviews.
“It’s important for an organization our size to have standardized policies,” Mackeprang said. It’s essential that employees can quickly look up policies because it ensures they can effectively administer care to patients.
Next, Sanford worked with NAVEX Global to move 27,000 documents into the PolicyTech system. With a higher-level, centralized view, Sanford was able to build a complete database of policies across the entire hospital system.
Additionally, Sanford was able to streamline their policy review and approval processes. Through PolicyTech, documents could be stored centrally, which means staff are all working on the same version of the document at the same time.
“It’s a big time saver for our leadership to get a policy reviewed and approved electronically,” said Mackeprang. She can now run reports in the PolicyTech dashboard to find out which reviewers still need to sign off on any given policy. The changes have started to take effect.
The Results: Structure and Visibility
“It’s invaluable to be able to respond so much more quickly.” - Kathleen Mackeprang, RN Special Projects Coordinator
Since implementing PolicyTech, Mackeprang and Sanford’s leadership has noticed the benefits of consistency and a centralized approach.
“It’s been such a crowd-pleaser for management. Everybody can search and find what they’re looking for—they love the program.”
For employees, the increased access to information is invaluable. “Now, employees know there’s a system that’s reliable and dependable, at their fingertips,” said Mackeprang.
When employees need to track down a policy, it’s quick and easy. More importantly, they can feel confident that it’s the most up-to-date version and there’s no need to cross-check for more details.
Standardization is also helping Sanford take more control over how policies are managed. Rather than each hospital and clinic responding on its own to new federal regulations, Sanford is able to create policies centrally, push them out to senior leadership for review, effectively track approvals, and distribute the updated policies to everyone who needs them.
“It’s invaluable to be able to respond so much more quickly,” said Mackeprang.
As the changes have gone through, Sanford has reduced program costs significantly, with fewer IT staff needed to maintain the centralized system.
With PolicyTech in place, Sanford is living up to its mission in a more efficient way, using technology to enable employees to improve patient care along policy-based best practices.
About NAVEX Global, Inc.
NAVEX Global is the worldwide leader in integrated risk and compliance management software and services. Our solutions help organizations manage risk, address complex regulatory requirements and foster an ethical, productive workplace culture.