Standard Operating Procedures

Standard Operating Procedures(SOPs) are established or prescribed methods to be followed routinely for the performance of designated operations or in designated situations (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). In healthcare, the aim of SOPs is to achieve efficient, quality, safe, and uniform performance in compliance with state and federal regulations and in accordance with established best practices. They serve all employees as a reference for clear performance of processes and procedures, especially those used infrequently, and a defined standard of expectations. Documentation of training employees in facility SOPs acts as a safety guideline, performance review standard, and legal grounds in case of accident or violation.

Examples of SOPs from multiple sites and states, including various forms, are included in the Appendices\Standard Operating Procedures.

Procedures and processes should be reviewed and updated regularly, adjusting to changes in technology, efficiency, therapeutic guidelines, and best practices. Updates can reflect feedback on quality improvement, safety, cost savings, improved productivity, and reduction in error rate. Use of flowcharts and examples in process explanation act as visual aids to add clarity. See Flowchart for external referral for an example.