Policies may be written by a few, but once approved and implemented, can impact tens of thousands of people. There is always the potential for unintended consequences or harms to occur in places we may not expect. Therefore, it’s essential to seek input from subject matter experts and other interested parties during the policy development process. Getting different perspectives can help you determine the resources needed to implement your policy successfully, including cost, education, equipment, and other issues you may not have considered or been aware of.
This part of the process can seem overwhelming, so let's walk through some essentials.
Any individual, group, or organization that can affect, be affected by, or perceive itself to be affected by a policy. Interested parties may or may not be subject matter experts, and can be internal or external to the organization. Interested parties may have to comply with the policy and can have perspectives needed to help make the policy successful/easy to comply with.
Individuals who possess a deep understanding of a particular subject, including, but not limited to, a clinical specialty, issue, lived experience, job, department, process, equipment, software. Subject matter experts may have collected their knowledge through intensive levels of schooling, or professional and/or lived experience. Subject matter experts may have a particular expertise that is required to be able to develop, implement, or evaluate the success of the policy.
‘When’ to reach out can vary from policy to policy, but generally, the answer is usually ‘the earlier the better’. In some cases, policy working groups may need to engage subject matter experts even before the drafting begins, depending on what is known about the subject at hand, or if there is a particular nuance/lens that may influence how the document must be written.
For those who don’t inform the content, but will be impacted by it, reach out after a solid draft is created and has had a first look by a Policy Lead. A Policy Lead may be able to help you brainstorm who might need to review the policy draft.
There are many ways to engage. You may invite subject matter experts to a working group meeting in the early drafting stages to better understand an issue, or do a presentation to a group of patient/family advisors. You may need to create a focus group of interested parties to understand what educational/communication requirements may be needed to support implementation. Consultation can be formal or informal.
Once the working group has created a strong draft, a survey can be a useful way to gather more general feedback from interested parties. The Policy Office has developed a survey tool to support this. You can use the stock questions we've developed or edit the survey as needed. The survey questions are designed to focus feedback on the policy content, rather than on format or wording.
Depending on the content, some policies may require a review from particular areas of the organization. Your Policy Lead can advise you on when reaching out to these areas are advised. This can include areas like:
Your Policy Lead will interact directly with these reviews on the following:
Use these resources to help guide your feedback process. Talk to us in the Policy Office early and often if you need guidance.