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Raising the Bar in Rehab

Changing Policies

Published June 20, 2014 4:40 PM by Lisa Mueller

When I was in PT school, we didn't discuss organizational policies and procedures very often. Even as a student, my clinical instructor would show me how to do something but I don't recall ever seeing a printed policy or handbook on what to do. Actually, I do remember seeing one master binder that had a ton of documents in it, but it wasn't easy to search for a document in the stack of papers.

Regulations and laws regarding every aspect of healthcare are constantly changing. The billing information needed by a third-party payer may change when benefit plans are reviewed. Changes to how we use rehab equipment may happen when the manufacturer updates the model. We change our treatment approaches with information on the patient's response and new evidence supporting our plans. Things change -- but how do we keep up?

If you are part of a large physical therapy department, or a clinic that has more than one location -- how are changes to your work communicated? How do you find out if a process is updated? Is it the responsibility of the physical therapist to find the information? Leaders to provide announcements and training? What's the best way?

I'm interested in this topic for a couple reasons. First, because physical therapists typically prefer to spend their time with patients, not administrative tasks, so our communication on policies and procedures is most effective when it's efficient. I think staff engagement and job satisfaction is tied to having the information to perform our jobs effectively. Second, I wonder what the impact would be to our patients and their payers if we aren't able to adjust our operations to accommodate changes.

Tell me about your organization -- how do you find policies and procedures you need for your job?

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