Driving Innovation in Healthcare Compliance Documentation
Anyone who has experienced a hospital survey can understand the stresses of being watched, judged, evaluated, and observed while you're trying to go about your business, doing your work, keeping your facility safe and maintaining equipment.
The goal of the survey is to receive accreditation from The Joint Commission (TJC),Det Norske Veritas Healthcare (DNV), the Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program (HFAP) or another accrediting organization. Most hospital facility managers are familiar with TJC and DNV.
Accreditation plays a key role in maintaining a safe environment and with a healthcare organization's finances. Accrediting standards define the detailed processes that in turn ensure an organization meets the Federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) broader safety standards. CMS standards are designed to protect patient safety, but are also a requirement to accepting payment from federal payers (e.g. Medicare & Medicaid), a significant source of revenue for many organizations.
So how do you best prepare for survey?
"Be ready all the time. Assume they'll walk in any day," said Life Safety Consultant Dean Ianazzi.
In addition to preparedness, there are knowledge and information challenges associated with surveys that require constant study and ongoing education.
"Unfortunately, the typical Director of Engineering lacks the resources for staying on top of changing codes," said Ianazzi.
For Directors of Operations, Safety Officers, Administrators, and Infection/Protection Specialists and others working directly with surveyors, keeping up with healthcare compliance documentation is top of mind -- made more challenging may be deciding what format is best suited for surveyors.
Ianazzi believes that more and more healthcare facilities are going digital with their healthcare compliance documentation, although he sees about 75% still "on paper" and about 25% are going the digital route.
"We'll be seeing significant changes over the next two years as the cost of digital programs are coming down and becoming more readily available, too," said Ianazzi.
Surveys conducted remotely during the pandemic pushed affected organizations to digital documentation, however, as on-site, physical surveys restarted post-pandemic, some surveyors still like physical binders and paperwork.
"It all depends on the surveyor," said Ianazzi.
David Emery, Facility Manager at Intermountain Health, views the surveyor/healthcare facility management experience as one that's collaborative with built-in checks and balances, to minimize mistakes and errors.
At his hospital, he still relies on paper healthcare compliance documentation stored in binders for compliance surveyors.
"Some surveyors request electronic files the night before the survey so they can spend more time on the floor," said Emery who believes the survey process is getting more and more streamlined.
He cautions hospital facility management teams to also bear in mind that surveyors are also looking more closely at hospital medical buildings.
ARC Facilities helps bring order and organization to your facility's healthcare compliance documentation process before, during, and after the survey via an app that allows you to easily store, update and share critical documents required by surveyors.
Our goal is to keep highly regulated healthcare facilities compliant with instant access to the Environment of Care, Life Safety, and Emergency Management. More information can be found in this special technology report.
We'll continue to keep close tabs on healthcare compliance documentation and what to expect before and after your next survey. In the meantime, check out this short video on how ARC Facilities can help streamline compliance for your facilities management team.