MRG News and Views – Challenges and Best Practices Hospital Audits
Health Systems allocate an incredible amount of dollars to integrate new software technologies to support various functions within their institutions. New operating systems, new accounting software, new software to track preventative maintenance schedules and personnel are all purchased to run a facility more efficiently. With this cost comes the need for “clean data”. Ensuring new software is operating on accurate information identifying each asset physically located within the property is imperative.
Questions arise on who should conduct the audit and what information currently exists that can be leveraged to assist with verifying data that will be integrated into the new software. In our years of experience working in facilities and assisting hospitals with audits, MRG has identified challenges and best practices that help accomplish goals associated with these types of projects. Following are a few challenges and best practices we have identified.
- Often times hospital data (ledger) doesn’t accurately reflect what is physically in the building
- Hospital ledgers sometimes group multiple identifiers into one field eliminating the ability to properly sort or reconcile data
- Hospital departments can feel threatened by a third party companies conducting an audit and may resist having outside parties in their areas
- Hospital departments may have alternative agendas for collecting data and attempt to manipulate outcomes that are strategically different than what administration is trying to achieve
- Including pre-construction area’s in audits and assigning barcode tags to equipment that is not physically in the facility can corrupt data integrity (only inventory what you physically see)
- Using an old ledger as the nomenclature when collecting inventory data may create more work than starting with a new nomenclature
- Have clear top down communication from administration to all departments impacted by an audit
- Define goals of the audit with hospital personnel and third party hired vendors
- When utilizing a third party company, have a single point of contact from the facility act as the hospital liaison and properly introduce them to personnel that will be involved at the facility level
- Define demographics that need to be captured in the audit and define specific timelines the inventory team will be at each department within the hospital
- Identify ways to minimize disturbance for both patients and hospital staff
- Define processes to keep collected data clean with future additions and deletions
- Reconcile ledgers every 2-3 years to ensure data integrity
Hospital audits by nature can be somewhat intrusive. Establishing action plans to challenges before they happen and utilizing best practices will ensure intended outcomes and proper data collection while minimizing disturbance to patients and hospital staff.
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