Hospital Policy: Transparency, Clarity, and Accessibility

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I’ve always been perplexed by the concept hospital policy. I mean, I get their purpose and understand the reasoning for them. They are needed, because unfortunately, many people require things to be spelled out and written in stone, in order for them to abide by rules of common-sence and decency. I even support having them readily available to all staff, with a quick easy way for any member of a healthcare organization to have access. Unfortunately, however, concepts like policy management often elude many healthcare organizations. It is not easy to find the information you want, nor is it understandable once you find it.

How Can Employees View the Hospital’s Policies?

What employees have to face is thick printed 3 ring binders with a difficult to navigate, often out-dated collection of policies that are daunting and difficult to tackle. If the policies are online, many of them are unorganized and unsearchable masses of the policies.

Unclear Clarity in Hospital Policies

The complexity and the convolution of the language and the often unclear clarity they offer can be a great frustration to a staff level employee. Hospital policies are created in order to provide instruction and clarification for issues and questions that often arise. Create a policy so that there is no reason for confusion. Easy access to hospital policies can enable and empower staff-level employees (nurses, aids, and so on) to feel a greater understanding of their job roles, the goals of the organization, and the standards that are expected to be met.

Empowering Nurses Through Hospital Policy

I’ve written before about Rosabeth M. Kanter, and her Theory of Organizational Empowerment. I think that hospital policy, and the easy and convenient access to them, are a fantastic example how giving nurses the access to information and tools and they will feel a greater respect for their role and a greater commitment to the healthcare organization. I am a big believer in transparency within a healthcare organization. A business, your customers (patients) and your employees alike will have to develop a greater trust in you and the care you can provide.

Honesty is the BEST Policy

Honesty is always the best policy. Transparency is the only way you can have honesty in a healthcare organization. The omission of the truth is lying. And poor organization and poorly written hospital policy might as well have strings, a wooden nose, and be called Pinocchio’s Policy.

In short, clarity, accessibility, and transparency are needed in hospital policy in order for the healthcare organization to be efficient and productive.

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8 thoughts on “Hospital Policy: Transparency, Clarity, and Accessibility”

  1. Hi Brittney,
    Great coverage on the topic of hospital policy management. As a policy management software vendor for hospitals, we dedicate most of our online efforts to communicate the need for better policy management, much along the same lines as what’s stated in this post. There is much that can be done to simplify and automate the process of policy management, and the fast-paced, bloated healthcare environment needs these shortcuts more than anyone. I welcome readers interested in an indepth
    coverage of policy management issues to check out our policy management blog.

    Keep up the great work, Brittney! I always enjoy reading your blog posts.


    1. Well thank you Daisy!
      Simplification and Automation! OH we could talk for hours about that! You sound like my kind of lady!
      Make it easy, take out the guess work, and make it just work…. Apple have figured many of the secrets of life out.

  2. Human factor. It is always a human factor in the end that make the difference. A good prosperous hospital can be turned into a dump with bad management, bad rules, bad policy.

  3. I think you are absolutely right! Some policies appear to be created with the sole purpose to confuse employees. It has to be because even after going to school for over ten years most doctors or nurses can’t understand them. Sometimes I wish hospital policies had a character limit a la Twitter. Management gets only 200 characters (a gift compared to Twitter) to compose a logical, non-legalese policy. Wouldn’t that shake things up?

    1. Forced conciseness would definitely rattle someone’s chains along the administrative conga line.
      The unfortunate reality is the assumption that increase in length will create greater clarification, but in reality I think it’s often just for legal protection. They just want to make sure they cover all the bases so idiots can’t claim they didn’t know they shouldn’t be idiots.

  4. I have written much on the subject of the increased empowerment of nurses in hospital facilities. In fact, I have states that “nurses are the gatekeepers of correct patient care.” This is a true statement in my estimation. However, a structure such as a hospital needs guidelines and policies. The altruistic nature and the honesty intrinsic to the nursing profession does not extend to a society as a whole. Hospitals are usually one of the largest employers in the area they are serving and as such bring in a diverse membership among employees. These members need a handbook to follow and that handbook spells out the hospital policies. Imagine what it would be like if a nurse entered into a disagreement with a doctor over patient care if there were no guidelines to follow. I am not giving an example because if you are a nurse you just had a mindflash of exactly what I am writing about. In the end, I must say that without “policies”, anarchy would reign free and the hospital organization would gain a state of chaos that would appeal to no worker.

    1. Unfortunately, I know all too well that nurses are not always honest and noble. I think is actually too easy to become a nurse and many have narcissistic and inappropriate reasons for pursuing a nursing career. Policies are needed to keep those idiots from saying “I didn’t know I shouldn’t be an idiot.”

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