Lawson Software announced the acquisition of Competency Assessment Solutions (CAS), of Princeton, N.J., a provider of performance management solutions for the healthcare industry. With the acquisition, Lawson can offer healthcare customers a solution that will typically provide a faster, simpler method to comply with reporting standards set by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO).

The CAS offering enables healthcare providers to replace multiple, time-consuming and often paper-based processes for meeting JCAHO standards. The Web-based system covers the entire performance management and reporting process, from job descriptions and performance appraisals to competency assessments, new employee orientation, and mandatory policy reviews.

Recent changes in the JCAHO audit process have made compliance reporting a challenge for healthcare organizations. As a result, healthcare organizations must now be prepared for an unannounced JCAHO audit at any time, as opposed to the previous process, which involved pre-scheduled audits. With the new JCAHO "spot audits," it is even more critical that information regarding appraisals be accessible quickly and reliably. Manual systems can make responding to these audits time-consuming or even result in an audit failure, if adequate documentation cannot be found.

"The online access to the CAS system for managers, employees and HR staff, has made our performance management process much more efficient, because the right parties have access to the right information when needed," said Deborah Patrick, vice president of human resources, St. Joseph's Medical Center in Towson, Md. "It also allows us to manage JCAHO spot audits much more quickly and effectively. By eliminating our previous time-consuming manual activities, we see time savings of up to 50 percent for our performance review and audit processes."

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