We’ve all been there – you are searching for a specific document on your company intranet, except you blank on the exact wording your colleague used when naming it. Perhaps he or she failed to use the appropriate naming convention, or maybe there are several different names the document could be titled; either way, at this rate you could probably rewrite the entire document in the time it takes to find it inside the mess of endless, cryptically named file folders.
While it is important to establish and enforce naming conventions that are accurate and consistent, searching should be easy for the average user who might not know what a policy or procedure is named. This ease of searching largely depends on the medical policy management software your facility uses. For medical offices with more than a handful of documents, an intranet just doesn’t provide the powerful searching you need.
Medical policy management software and other systems for medical offices have different features that make it easy on the end user to search for a policy or procedure. Full-text searching is a must-have feature, for example, because it allows a user to type in a specific word or phrase they remember from the body of the document instead of trying to remember the exact title. Another feature which is important to any user-friendly search function is the concept of "stemming."
What is stemming?
Stemming is a search engine algorithm used to recognize that words with the same root are similar, thus returning more relevant results. For example, suppose you are searching through your library of medical office policies trying to find the policy on "medication error," but you can’t quite remember if it is called "medication error" or "medical error."
If you are using medical policy software that employs stemming, it knows that the words contain the same root and returns results accordingly. This way, you don’t have to be completely exact, and you don’t have to look up the title in a table of contents. You would search just like you would in Google or any other search engine. This makes finding policies a thoughtless task, as it should be.
To summarize, the main benefits of software that uses stemming are:
- Reduced time it takes to find a medical policy or procedure
- Ease of use for those with the lowest level of computer knowledge
- Less energy dedicated to a task which should be effortless