Featured Articles: Risk and Compliance

Effective Policy Writing and Management

Sunday, June 22, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Joy Ingram
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By Randal Chitty, CEO, Quality First Management Solutions, and Candace Chitty, RN, CEO, Quality Healthcare Consulting

[Editor’s Note: NWRPCA is currently conducting a pilot project with QFMS software services, with room for one more CHC. Contact Development for details.]

Policy writing and management is a critical administrative component of any health center.  Policy documents provide an accounting of governance, purpose, and implementation as well as expectations, roles and responsibilities of key functions and processes.  In this article the following are explained as a guide to understanding the value of policies and policy management and steps to facilitate effective policy writing.

  • Why documentation is so important: Tips that could keep you out of trouble later
  • Who should write policies (qualifications of good policy writers)
  • Differences between policies and procedures
  • When to use handbooks, manuals, flowcharts vs. policies
  • How to achieve consistency using standardized policy attributes and format
  • How to organize policies (classifying and numbering)
  • When policies should be reviewed and/or revised 

This article will provide field-tested advice on the following topics:

  • Why write policies and procedures
  • What effective policies and procedures are and are not
  • What policy writing is -- and isn't
  • Qualifications of a good writer for this work
  • Understanding the difference between policies and procedures
  • Five key agreements you need in order to get started
  • Eighteen questions to answer before the writing begins
  • Writing format - section headings
  • Writing from canned content - two methods
  • What happens when the writing is finished?

Best Advice Summarized:

Select a writing format and stick with it. Write a policy on policy writing and policy management and stick with your decisions as you write policies. Designate a policy writer and give this person the tools, time, and mobility he/she needs to be successful. Don’t expect to be able to take a canned policy, make a few changes, add a logo, and call it your own if you actually want people to read and apply the content. Put a policy writer in charge, follow the guidelines, and do it right the first time so that readers might actually read the documents and apply the guidelines to their jobs. Be proactive, as you are doing today, by reading this article, and learning tested methods for writing effective policies and procedures.

Download the entire article with examples here. 

Webinar presentations and other free health center related training tools and resources may be offered through NWRPCA, sometimes including the expertise of these authors. Contact the NWRPCA staff to learn of such opportunities.

 NWRPCA welcomes and regularly publishes white papers and articles submitted by members, partners and associates with subject matter expertise. The appearance of any guest publication in our Health Center News database represents the views of the author and does not constitute endorsement by NWRPCA of the stated opinions or perspectives, nor does it suggest endorsement of the contributor's products or services.


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