Choosing Healthcare Contract Management Software for Hospitals and Healthcare Companies
There’s no question that healthcare is one of the most competitive industries in the world. It is also becoming one of the more technologically savvy industries, as healthcare firms and hospitals increasingly turn to digital tools to manage processes and analyze data to make informed decisions that benefit patients.
Yet, the healthcare industry still has a long way to go when it comes to finding the best healthcare contract management software (CMS). In 2019, Black Book Market Research found that 96 percent of healthcare provider organizations and systems in the U.S. were not using a CMS. They were either using manual processes or an outdated system.
Manual processes can be tedious and error-prone. They can get lost or forgotten, especially if you don’t have a meticulous organizational strategy, which is important when managing contract data.
If you’re using a manual or outdated system, you may be looking at healthcare contract management software and wondering how to make the best decision for your organization and contract data.
Picking a healthcare CMS is an important and specific choice. Often, healthcare contracting operates in a highly regulated environment where HIPAA and other PHI-related laws impact choices. The challenge is finding ways to lower costs and improve efficiency without sacrificing the quality of care every patient receives.
Finding the Right CMS for Your Healthcare Organization
When you are looking for a CMS, the first question to ask is whether general-purpose contract lifecycle management (CLM) tools will work for your organization. The answer to that is often no because of specific pain points you might have.
For example, contract negotiation is a growing area of pain for healthcare providers. In healthcare, contracts usually exist between physicians and a healthcare plan, healthcare provider, managed care organization, integrated delivery system, or health maintenance organization. They can also exist between healthcare providers and vendors, employees, and other parties.
Every healthcare contract needs to comply with applicable state and federal laws that protect patient privacy and follow HIPAA and PHI guidelines. Because of these specific requirements, general-purpose management software solutions typically cannot empower users to negotiate healthcare contracts more effectively.
Healthcare Contract Management Best Practices
Because there are so many types of healthcare contracts, healthcare organizations must have a streamlined process that ensures nothing gets lost. Here are some best practices to follow when your organization is ready to implement a digital contract management strategy.
1. Standardize your processes
A standardized process will ensure that contracts don’t get lost in any of the many steps they take as they move from getting drafted to getting final approval and signatures. Using a healthcare contract management software system that allows everyone to access the most up-to-date document and information can keep contracts from getting lost in the shuffle.
2. Keep a repository
There is a lot of paperwork involved in healthcare, which is why contract management is so important. Moving to digital storage reduces the amount of physical paperwork you need to deal with, but it is only helpful if your digital files are stored in an organized manner. Look for software that allows for a central repository that can be tagged and indexed so everyone can quickly find and access the documents they need when they need them.
3. Automate your workflow
The contract process can quickly stall if your contract sits in someone’s inbox for days or weeks on end without ever being opened. A healthcare contract management software system with automated workflows ensures that everyone involved in the contract review process gets regular reminders and alerts, keeping things moving on pace.
4. Integrate with existing systems
A CMS should enhance your existing processes, not dampen them. Look for CMS that easily integrates with your current systems for a streamlined experience across your organization.
5. Provide easy access to playbooks
Don’t reinvent the wheel with every new contract. A CMS that integrates playbooks enables you to apply previous knowledge to every new contract. It also lets users quickly address sections that require attention.
What to Look for in a Healthcare Contract Management Software Suite
When you start looking for contract management software, the most important thing to consider is how safe your data is. Using software that is not explicitly designed with healthcare organizations in mind puts you and your patients at risk.
Additionally, you want to use a CMS that will improve your process and workflow so that contracts don’t get lost or forgotten. It should integrate with your existing management systems so that you don’t need to start from scratch.
Here are some key questions to ask when you are considering a contract management software suite:
- Does it handle specific contract types, or does it take more of a one-size-fits-all approach?
- Can the system standardize the negotiation and markup processes across those contract types?
- Does it allow you to negotiate contracts using specific playbooks for HIPAA or PHI related contract reviews?
- Does the contract repository consider drafts in the context of pre-and post-signature analysis?
- Can the system integrate into your existing management systems, or will you need to start all over?
- Is it using a secure cloud-based environment that is SOC2 ready?
- Does the CMS allow for integrated playbooks to speed up contract negotiation training?
Often contract management software misses several (if not all) of these critical concepts.
Traditional CMS suites overlook how vital the contract negotiation process is, particularly when working with vendors that have access to potential PHI either on or offshore. It’s critical that you keep your contract negotiation process secure and organized so that nothing gets lost and private information does not get leaked.
A Better Way to Negotiate Healthcare Contracts
DocJuris offers a better way to draft, review, and negotiate contracts in the healthcare industry. Our end-to-end tools can help you reduce risk and improve efficiency across your healthcare organization.
With integrated playbooks, including ones that are specific for HIPAA and PHI-related contract reviews, DocJuris has everything you need to streamline your contract review and negotiation process.
Schedule a demo today to see how DocJuris works and learn more about what it can offer your healthcare firm.