In Part I of this blog post series, we discussed the SharePoint features that help companies adhere to their industry’s unique compliance standards. In Part II, we will examine case studies of i-Squared customers in three different industries who used SharePoint to achieve compliance.
Client 1: Regional Community Hospital Meets Audit Requirements
The Hospital’s policies and procedures must be visible to all employees to ensure their work is performed in a uniform fashion. The policies are regularly reviewed internally to ensure they are compliant with healthcare regulations like HIPAA and HITECH and by auditors from government health organizations who ensure they are being followed. These auditors visit the Hospital without warning, so the Hospital simply cannot allow their compliance efforts to lapse.
To maintain compliance before SharePoint, policy document owners were required to manually gather signatures from approvers each time the policy was updated by obtaining approver’s signatures on a paper copy of the policy, scanning the signed document, printing duplicates, and storing them in binders at nurse stations and other locations throughout the hospital. With the manual process, the information in the binders could be out of date, were not controlled, and required major effort to ensure compliance.
i-Squared streamlined the approval process through SharePoint workflow automation. The document owner now sends a link to an electronic copy of the policy to each approver, who approves it by simply typing their name in a signature box and clicking “Approve”. Certificates installed on the approver’s computer provide signature authentication. Once approved, SharePoint creates a PDF file of the new “major version” of the document and stores it in a SharePoint site able to be viewed by all employees, where they are protected from being mismanaged or edited without authorization.
Client 2: Large Construction Company Fulfills PennDOT Requirements
The Construction company was awarded a contract to overhaul nearly 600 bridges across the state of Pennsylvania. For each bridge being replaced, required documents including permits for right of ways, traffic control, and environmental control, must be submitted and approved by the state’s department of transportation (PennDOT).
i-Squared designed standardized SharePoint sites for each bridge project. Using these sites, required documents are stored and made available for viewing by project participants, but protected from unauthorized changes. SharePoint security groups provide unique access levels for our client (the Prime contractor), subcontractors and PennDOT agents. Having all documents for each bridge project in one SharePoint site also streamlined the process for establishing substantial completion.
Workflows automated the document approval process. Project participants can easily log into SharePoint to review and approve content, check an item’s approval status, and track the time elapsed in the approval process. This streamlined process allowed the client to discern who is responsible for any delays that may emerge, to resolve issues causing the delay, and ultimately to avoid penalty charges.
Client 3: Chemical Manufacturer Meets Environmental and Safety Requirements
This client manufactures chemical mixes for both domestic and international distribution. Their compliance policies and procedures are followed by factory workers to ensure their processes produce chemical products that meet environmental and quality standards. The client must also maintain safety data sheets to ensure the safety of employees and customers alike who come in direct contact with the chemicals.
In addition to typical SharePoint safeguards against unauthorized access and edits of documents, i-Squared implemented further protection via Information Rights Management. This extra security layer prevents most users from printing or downloading even a read-only copy of policy and procedure documents. As a result, the client ensures the most recent version of the policy or procedure is being followed as well as protecting the client’s content from unauthorized access or edits, while higher level users can override these protections as needed. SharePoint’s auditing capabilities also record when changes are made to these documents, and indicate who authored the changes.
Need Help Setting Up SharePoint? We’re Here to Help!
While SharePoint is more than capable of meeting any of your compliance needs, considerable “know-how” is required to implement it as needed. i-Squared has plenty of experience preparing SharePoint to support a variety of industry compliance standards. Get in touch and we’ll work together to find the right path for you.