For any organization across all kinds of industries, contracts represent the foundation of business. They contain information that is vital to the practices of every organization, regardless of what that organization does. A contract outlines the flow back and forth of all commercial relationships, whether with vendors, individuals, or other agencies, and it includes details about how you receive or deliver products and services, how you receive or give payment for those products and services, and what needs to happen if something goes wrong in the middle. This is no different for contracts in the healthcare industry.
Assisted living facilities (ALF) in particular comprise a unique part of the healthcare contract management sector. ALF contracts are vulnerable to risks from multiple angles, from the risks associated with typical business deals like revenue loss to the more niche possibility of breaking compliance with government regulations, which could result in an immense loss of reputation or even, in the worst cases, litigation. To avoid these risks and ensure that only the highest quality contracts are being generated by your facility, ones that protect both you and your patients, it is essential that you have an efficient contract process. A contract lifecycle management (CLM) software may be able to help you streamline your contract processes, lower risks, and save time for your employees, all while maintaining the high standard of quality you expect from your contracts. Read on to learn more about the ins and outs of this software and the potential benefits it offers for any assisted living facility.
By far one of the most difficult aspects of managing contracts in the healthcare industry is making sure each new contract complies with all the necessary government regulations, both at the state and federal level. From HIPAA to JCAHO, your assisted living facilities may need to take great care in ensuring that your contracts meet sanctioned standards while still being user-friendly and easy to understand. Not to mention, writing up contracts that comply with guidelines can take up a great deal of time which might otherwise be spent on more pressing tasks, like renovating your contract processes or adhering to the needs of patients and their loved ones.
A CLM tool may be able to take some pressure off your legal team during the contract drafting process by making sure that new contracts fit into a standardized template. Templates allow the authoring phase of the contract lifecycle to be carried out much faster, only requiring that blanks be filled in and small adjustments made to adhere to any unique needs for that particular agreement. Your CLM software can compare these newly generated documents to previous ones, ensuring that they line up with all the necessary regulations and mitigating potential risks caused by mistakes or missing clauses. A tool with tracking and reminder features will also help employees stay on top of important deadlines and renewal dates.
Creating a Database
With the huge variety of documents needed to maintain relationships with vendors, patients, and employees at an assisted living facility, storage can quickly become a problem for many locations. The traditional systems of filing cabinets and physical signatures just don’t cut it in the fast-paced and highly remote world we live in today. Without a secure, unified repository for all your organization’s contracts and other important documents, employees will be forced to waste valuable time wading through stacks of papers to manually retrieve data. Not to mention, there is an increased potential to misplace old documents or lose track of the version history for newer ones.
CLM software typically offers a cloud-based repository to house all of your facility’s contracts in one convenient place. The existence of this database in the cloud as opposed to filing cabinets or even a company hard drive unlocks a great deal of potential when it comes to bettering your contract management processes. Employees gain the ability and the freedom to access documents from any location, enabling remote workers and facilitating better communication between the parties involved in an agreement. Reducing the need for travel also helps make collaboration easier than ever.
Your database will make managing contract versions and gathering analytics a breeze as well. Most CLM tools offer searching and tracking features that allow you to quickly bring up documents relevant to a keyword search and ensure that the most current version of a contract is always easily accessible, once again saving valuable time for employees across all departments. And, the combination of version tracking, backing up documents, and keeping a log of important timestamps or renewal dates generates a trail that managers and CEOs can easily follow to discern changes that need to take place in order to create a more efficient contract lifecycle for your facility.