How perfect storms sometimes create perfect opportunities

March 12, 2021
Business Affairs Risk Management
From the March 2021 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

The same type of education and understanding needs to be presented on both proper COVID practices as well as Infection Prevention practices. Everyone should understand proper protocols and correct anyone that is displaying improper practices. This is clear example of how proper training can empower everyone to protect the mission.

For decades, it has been the mission of infection preventionists as well as facility managers to make sure everyone entering the facility to perform work has the education and clear understanding of proper work practices. The reality of the situation is that it has been impossible to track down every vendor and contractor entering the facility 24/7 and making sure they have received the training and actually understand the reasoning of patient safe work practices. Facilities have tried to have group safety meetings and project kick off meetings only to find out most of the people actually performing the work are missing. Similarly, requesting project managers or estimators to covey the importance of infection prevention to the workers is inadequate and inefficient.

Just recently, a hospital maintenance technician turned off an oxygen valve that took the life of two patients. According to the hospital, the valve was not clearly marked. If internal hospital maintenance personnel make mistakes like this, just imagine the mistakes uninformed outside contractors can make. The news is full of disastrous cases that seem to follow a singular narrative: vendors made mistakes because they did not understand how their actions could create such an outcome.

Thom Wellington
Now, emerging technology that meets these needs is providing the check-in requirements, tracking training completion, vaccine status, and saving the facility money. Initial calculations comparing staffed check-in points with a fully-loaded contactless kiosk have resulted in a three- to four-month payback. This is a perfect example of how technology not only saves time but collects more information and garners reports for the facility that can be used to demonstrate compliance during inspections.

About the author: Thom Wellington is a contributing columnist and infection prevention expert, and national speaker. He is also the founder of the Infection Prevention Learning Institute.

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