AtlantiCare Health Systems is one of the largest healthcare providers in southeastern New Jersey. With over 4,000 employees and more than 50 locations, AtlantiCare manages and operates ten separate business entities under the AtlantiCare corporate umbrella, including AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center (ARMC), the AtlantiCare Foundation, AtlantiCare Health Services, AtlantiCare Health Plans, AtlantiCare Behavioral Health, and InfoShare (AtlantiCare’s information technology – IT – IT arm.
AtlantiCare is driven to change its policy management system for several reasons:
- Employees are complaining that the current site is too cumbersome to use. Management fears that this may lead to employees not referring to policy documents as often as they should.
- Risk Management and Corporate Counsel are unable to adequately defend litigation cases that involve policy history, as changes to policy documents are not maintained and retired policies are not archived.
- AtlantiCare is concerned that the upcoming Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) Audit will not yield a positive evaluation of their policy and procedure management system.
AtlantiCare currently maintains a policy and procedure website internally. Documents are published to HTML using various tools, such as Macromedia’s Dreamweaver, and posted to an internal web site.
Changes to policies and procedures are made by simply overwriting old policy documents with new ones, with no documented change history. Retired policies are deleted from the site.
Users cannot see a list of documents on their policy website. The interface to the policy site consists of a search text box. Upon searching (using the Dtsearch full text search engine), users are taken to a list of results, consisting of document names (as links) and relevant data.
An upcoming JCAHO audit necessitated rapid deployment, and, with their current budget already allocated, AtlantiCare was looking for a cost-effective solution. Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services was selected as the best technology to meet these needs.
As the entire project must be completed within 30 days, short and long term plans were developed to receive audit approval and continue to develop a policy and procedure site that would meet the longer term needs of the institution.
Each AtlantiCare Business Unit was provided with a secure site, containing a document library with all necessary metadata to track policy-effective dates, physician approver names, and categories to improve searching and meet JCAHO standards. The site was deployed using SQL Server to provide native indexing and full-text searching, allowing staff to immediately locate the appropriate policy.
Representatives from each department were organized to review all documents and ensure that the site was launched with the most current data. Security was put in place allowing only authorized personnel the ability to alter information, while providing all users instant read-only access to relevant policy documents.
All document libraries were configured with version tracking and content approval. These SharePoint features, combined with a well-developed procedure, allowed the Compliance Team to provide rapid turnover of content revisions. Users cannot see new policy information until it is approved, and all historic versions are maintained.
SharePoint’s easy to understand interface allowed for rapid deployment with only minimal training, allowing all clinical staff to begin searching and accessing appropriate policies immediately upon deployment of the solution. AtlantiCare passed the JCAHO audit with ease.
The legal department is thrilled to be able to access historic policy information by date, thereby reducing liability and unforeseen litigation costs.