Establishing a Governance Committee is Like Building a Winning Football Team.
Healthcare contracting isn’t a game, and the stakes are a whole lot higher, but creating a successful contract management program is a bit like building a winning football program. Strategy is essential, and you have to follow the rules to avoid penalties. To build an effective contracting program, you must:
Choose your captain. To be most effective, a contract management program needs someone to take ownership of the process and the designated technology solution. Your contract management program owner, who is like the captain of a football team, should come from your legal, compliance, or corporate governance departments. Your IT staff probably aren’t as knowledgeable about contract management practices, so an IT person shouldn’t be the sole owner. An effective contract management program owner:
- Understands legal and business rules governing contract management
- Has authority to ensure accountability and compliance
- Has awareness of the organization’s strategic business objectives
- Works with internal stakeholders to set standards
- Provides the consistency needed to ensure successful contract management practices
- Can align contract processes with the designated technology solution
Develop an effective playbook. Football players rely on their collection of offensive and defensive plays. Similarly, successful contract management programs include well-defined and documented policies and procedures that are regularly reviewed and updated. If your contracting policies and procedures aren’t well-documented, they’ll be inconsistent, and your organization may be exposed to financial or legal risk.
Store your policies and procedures in a centralized location—such as a dedicated contract page on your intranet—that’s easily accessible to contract management personnel. Well-defined policies and procedures can also lead you to a contract management software solution.
Train your team. Knowing the plays is necessary but not sufficient to win a football game. Practicing those plays regularly is crucial for success. Likewise, asking your contract management staff to review your policies and procedures manual may not be enough. Ongoing training is essential to help them understand and consistently follow your contracting processes, policies, and regulatory requirements. Your staff should also regularly complete your contract management software provider’s training on processes and systems, to stay compliant with policy and regulatory requirements.
Bring the right technology into play. Football coaches use playbook software to create, organize, and print play cards and entire playbooks. Implementing the right contract life cycle management software to execute your organization’s defined processes is a necessary step in contract management. You’ll need a dedicated system administrator to manage and oversee the contract database, ensuring that the right controls are in place to successfully implement the defined contract management practices. The system administrator should work closely with the contract program owner to maintain consistency and help identify ways to optimize the capabilities of the system.
Organizations may engage the software solution provider directly to handle short- or long-term system administration needs and/or to assess and recommend improvements to optimize the use of the database.
By following these steps, you can get your winning contract management program ready for next year’s big game.
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