REP 29 - Why every clinic owner needs a policy and procedure manual
As a clinic owner who has built a successful clinic with team of multidisciplinary experts in just three years, I never could have done it without putting clinic policies and procedures in place.
The whole idea of ‘procedures’ is one that many clinic owners tend to avoid. After all, it does take considerable time to develop them, and who has the time?
I understand. It is an effort but one well worth investing in!
Regardless of whether you’re a solo clinician or own a bigger clinic, policies and procedures will help you achieve more success, guaranteed.
Let’s look at:
- What the difference is between the two
- The function of your policies and procedures
- A range of the benefits
- And things to consider when you develop your manual
What Are Policies and Procedures?
Policies are high-level program statements that embrace the goals of your business and define what is acceptable. They are viewed as crucial to your business achieving its mission and goals and are developed for practices that are mandatory and non-negotiable in nature.
Procedures are statements that describe how a particular operational function is to be implemented and managed within your business.
The Function of Policy and Procedure Manuals
Policy and Procedure Manuals serve many functions in a business including, but not limited to:
- Provides documentation of your organization’s vision and operating principles
- Provides staff with clear guidelines and expectations
- Addressing risk management issues
- Ensuring consistent operations despite possible turnover in key staff
- Serving as a blueprint for program replication and expansion
- Serving as a baseline for continuous improvement
Benefits of Developing Policy and Procedure Manuals
A policy and procedures manual can:
- Save time and effort problem-solving the same issue over and over again
- Assist in staff recruitment by providing detailed job descriptions
- Orient new staff about job standards and expectations
- Provide continuity and consistency in decision-making
- Set a positive direction for the organization by taking a proactive approach to present and future issues
- Provide a way to review existing services to ensure needs are met
- Help avoid conflict and the potential for misunderstanding
Things to Consider When Developing Your Policies and Procedures
There are several key areas that you can develop policy and procedures in.
They might include:
- Human Resources Policies and Procedures (Employee handbook)
- Administrative Policies and Procedures (Reception and accounting)
- Clinical Policies and Procedures (Clinician delivery of programs and services)
- Client Services Policies and Procedures (Appropriate conversation in person and on phone, dealing with complaints and compliments, gathering feedback, education, and everything related to client processes)
Make sure that you include your mission statement, personnel policies (i.e. office attire, conduct, communications, vacations, payroll, dispute resolution, safety, confidentiality, performance reviews) and procedures specific to the provision of clinical services and the general operations of the clinic.
Your policy manual should be attractive and user-friendly. That means using clear, concise, and uncomplicated language.
Let someone else read the manual and ask for feedback; what’s clear to you may not be to a third party. Also, clearly label each chapter and create a table of contents or an index so employees can jump to the topic they’re looking for.
For clinicians who are always on the go, a digital version of the guide makes good business sense. You can easily make changes to and update the document without having to spend a bundle printing new manuals.
For more information, please check out CPA's Clinic Policy and Procedure How To Guide
By Charlotte Anderson, physiotherapist and owner of ALPHA Health Services
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