By Randall B. Charpentier,
HEM, President/Principal Consultant: HealthSafe New England
CMS recently released their initial report on fines issued to hospitals for having too many patients return within a month for additional treatments. In my previous posts, I provided an introduction to environmental and operational impact on HAI’s, Hand Hygiene, PPE and ventilation impact/influence & emergency response. In this post I’ll attempt to address technological advances and how they may positively or negatively impact HAI’s. (Links to all posts in this blogseries can be found at the end of this one!)
Technology – The most widely used technology in healthcare with combatting HAI’s by in large is the utilization of HEPA filtered devices, UV technology in ventilation systems/light fixtures, chemical neutralization methodologies for patient care areas, both fixed and mobile. This technology is considered the most effective technology available today and is constantly evolving. These control technologies are anticipated to grow in excess of 4 billion in 2015. If they are managed and maintained properly, in conjunction with proper hand and mechanical hygiene, appropriate ventilation processes, and best practices in construction/renovation maintenance programs, stringent emergency response actions, and aggressive environmental monitoring/management systems can be effective in combating HAI’s. I’m a firm believer in Best Available Control Technologies (BACT) to combat HAI’s.
In most, if not all of my consulting projects, I research and explore all BACT available options in addition to reviewing all protocols as mentioned above. Most healthcare facilities in combating this issue should also embrace improved computer and software applications that can reduce time, energy and streamline their operations to respond rapidly and efficiently to the challenges facing healthcare today. Most facilities utilize paper checklist and policy binders to manage their safety/environment of care program. This methodology is outdated, antiquated and ineffective as they’ve been replaced with smart phone/tablet cloud based technology allowing a facility to communicate and document all actions in real time, instantaneously. One other critical factor to consider, is to populate all emergency response devices with updated floor plans that reside on your smart phones and tablets. They will reduce response times in the event a code is called, and arm your response teams with precise locations to determine level of security to safeguard patients, visitors, and staff to internal releases/adverse events for safe evacuation and isolation of the scene.
The headlines for HAI’s is not the place any C-Suite executive wants to be! There is no magic bullet or one size fits all approach in combatting HAI’s, but a combination of prevention strategies is strongly encouraged. In order to rule out hand hygiene, PPE, Ventilation & Emergency Response scenario’s, I’m hopeful that I’ve addressed technological advances to enhance your teams efforts in combatting HAI’s as follows:
- Hand Hygiene – Incorporate a quality control process that verifies staff are utilizing proper hand hygiene techniques. BACT includes utilizing black lights and solutions that illuminate contamination.
- Ventilation – Utilize boroscopes, anenometers/balometers/ velometers/digital mananometers to verify air flows and pressure relationships and non-irritant smoke to visually confirm.
- Emergency Response – Upload all policies, procedures and floor plans onto smart phones/tablets to equip your response teams with instantaneous information to facilitate quicker response teams, safely and effectively manage emergencies, and evacuate isolate, and treat releases of energy and contaminants so patient care is not adversely impacted and staff can safely isolate the impacted area and protect themselves from contaminants. Incorporate real time monitoring of contaminant releases with direct reading devices so you can effectively institute protective measures and certify that an area is suitable for re-occupancy.
The time has arrived for healthcare facilities to focus on safety, not only for patients but staff as well. If healthcare does not begin to address these critical issues in short order, CMS will be more than happy to.
CMS Fines, HAIs, and Prevention Blogseries
Randall Charpentier is a 20 year experienced, safety and risk management consultant specializing in healthcare compliance and best practice management. Project experience ranges from leading teams on the construction of the west coast space shuttle project, working internationally & domestically for leading environmental engineering firms conducting real estate assessments involving occupational and environmental risks, assessing business operational risks concerning commercial insurance policies, and reducing/eliminating exposures/hazards, to leading world renowned, top ten/one hundred community based & BioMedical Research/Teaching hospitals, with development and execution of best practices with EOC, Fire/Life Safety, Infection Prevention in Healthcare Construction, and Emergency Management programs. HSNE’s/Randall’s passion is keeping patients, staff and visitors safe in a healthcare setting. CMS is measuring safety and quality in healthcare facilities basing reimbursement on healthcare outcomes. Does your facility measure up? If not, you should conduct a risk assessment. Is your facility compliance or results driven? To find out, firstname.lastname@example.org or www.hsnellc.com, or LinkedIn profile.