“I guarantee anyone who goes through the process [to attain] URAC’s Organizational Management Certification (OMC) will come out of it a noticeably better organization,” says Thomas G. Goddard, JD, PhD, and CEO of Integral Healthcare Solutions (IHS). He’s speaking from experience.
“Our business is exclusively preparing businesses for URAC accreditation,” he told a recent URAC webinar audience. Much like a therapist or executive counselor will go through the same training they later offer to others, Goddard and team decided to “treat ourselves as a client and go through all the stages” of attaining certification in order to better serve their own clients.
In the webinar, Goddard and Lesley Malus Reed, MHSA (President), sat down with Deborah Smith, URAC’s Product Development Principal, to discuss both the Organizational Management Certification program and IHS’s own experience in going through the certification process over the last year.
URAC’s Organizational Management Certification, released last February, offers independent third-party validation of operational elements in organizations within the healthcare industry or serving healthcare organizations but which may not be eligible for other URAC programs. Derived from URAC’s Core accreditation, the certification rigorously validates the capabilities of an organization in all the key management areas that are important for any quality healthcare entity.
IHS, a 17-year-old accreditation consulting firm, was one of the first organizations to successfully achieve the certification.
The OMC is “grounded in URAC’s key quality principles: leadership, stakeholder involvement, consumer protection, culture of quality, regulatory compliance, quality improvement, process optimization, information systems, and performance measurement and reporting,” URAC’s Smith, MN, RN-BC, told webinar attendees. “It’s a program for those who don’t qualify for other URAC accreditations” such as software companies, she added.
“People who go after this certification won’t be in typical mold of other healthcare organizations,” Reed advised webinar attendees. “They may tend to be more spread out [geographically], so you have to think outside the box,” she says. For example, human resources issues such as performance reviews require the careful exchange of confidential information. Going through the certification process helped IHS strengthen its security program to better meet stringent HIPAA and internal standards, she says.
Reed stressed the importance of thinking about what you need to measure and why. “It doesn’t have to be fancy, but you need some infrastructure” to best examine meaningful performance metrics.
Going after the OMC forced IHS to get “more rigorous” in terms of accountability and follow-up meetings, Goddard said. Digging deeper during the process, Goddard and team realized they needed to update and revise job titles and descriptions. “It was a major project and there was almost no aspect of our company that came out untouched,” he says.
Goddard takes it further, calling the process “inspiring,” because it spurred the company to become more proactive by thinking about how to develop and implement meaningful metrics. For example, they wanted to find a metric that tracked not only how quickly they had offered a client advice, but how “spot on” that advice was. In other words, how often did they have to follow up with advice to tinker with it or make revisions based on getting new information or a mistaken interpretation.
Goddard challenged attendees to think through what performance improvement means for their organization. “What is it that you can do to improve your response to clients?” Most IHS clients are pharmacies, health plans or utilization management organizations with elaborate call centers. “How do you measure your response?”
While not required by URAC’s OMC, it did inspire IHS to carefully examine each customer interaction. “Could we have done better in a given situation,” Goddard asks. “There is a very real inspirational aspect of this work,” he adds.