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Transitioning to digital documentation

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Everything seems to be transitioning to digital or electronic these days. As a former facilities director, the notion of switching everything over can be daunting and a bit overwhelming

For years, my team used binders and kept up with reports, emails, and filing.  Since my former days as a Joint Commission surveyor, I got firsthand experience working with facility management teams that used digital documentation and those that did not. I saw how beneficial going digital would have been for me in my facility director days, as well as the challenges with transitioning to digital documentation.

I saw how beneficial going digital would have been for me in my facility director days, as well as the challenges with transitioning to digital documentation.

Recently, I had a string of questions posed to me regarding this and what my experiences were while surveying. During the time I surveyed, I had both positive and negative experiences with digital/electronic documentation. Here are some challenges presented by facilities management, plus a good and bad example for you to chew on in your decision-making.


How long do I keep my paperwork?

Accrediting agencies can look back at the previous three years when reviewing documentation.  Even if you have two years of digital documentation, you’re going to want to keep your third year of binders in place if they need to be reviewed.

How do you start the transition process?

I recommend utilizing the calendar year to start this process. If you’re trying to do a transition mid-year,  I would recommend postponing to the first of the year to allow you the ability to minimize errors.

Learning from experience

A bad example of transitioning

During one survey,  a facilities team, utilizing digital documentation, got a leadership finding. It was due to not being able to find the documentation needed and not getting in touch with the vendor for a secondary report. In this case, the facilities group had the digital documentation, but the problem was the way it was filed through multiple folder systems that someone in-house developed. The compliance person that used the program was no longer there and the team was unfamiliar with the subpar program. Basically, they ran out of time while they were trying to find the reports.

In this case, it was obvious the transition process was not well thought out and individuals involved treated compliance as a “behind lock and key” type of system which is never a good idea. The healthcare facility did not have an auditing system in place and unfortunately for them, they were unable to produce the required reports.

A good example of transitioning

A particular healthcare facility group, that did very well, used a thorough software program that also provided an auditing program ensuring everything was correct and completed on time. The reports were filed by EC standards and presented in an extremely methodical manner. In fact, it was one of the fastest documentation reviews I have ever done! Everything presented had links to the reports and all of the information was accurate. It was very impressive!

I encourage you to allow Soleran to help in your transition process. We will provide you with not only a software solution to meet your needs, but also develop your auditing program as well as provide an accurate check and balance process. We can walk you through the digital documentation process to creating accessible reports that are easy to find and will impress any surveyor.  

Reach out to us and we can discuss your needs around transitioning your documentation and how we can help streamline your organization’s processes.  You will be surprised at how easy it can be!

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