4 Ways to drive quality improvement for healthcare organizations

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Healthcare professionals face a variety of challenges when it comes to compliance: constantly changing laws, mounting administrative responsibilities, multiple siloed systems, staff turnover and more.

The industry as a whole is complex with countless required trainings and procedures, often making it a challenge to find effective ways to record and manage each step or piece of documentation necessary for compliance.

The typical healthcare organization has a patchwork method for managing compliance—with some systems only existing on paper—leaving chances for important pieces to fall through the cracks. Oftentimes, these deficiencies are only identified during an audit and could result in unwanted consequences. An overly complicated or unorganized tracking system can lead to compliance deficiencies and take time away from the mission of the organization – to serve patients.

Top Deficiencies for Healthcare Providers
According to a 2017 report published by the Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program and the Accreditation Association for Hospitals/Health Systems, Inc., the top deficiencies for acute care hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers include the lack of review of medical records by medical staff; incomplete emergency and safety plans; training deficiencies; expired privileges; and many others.

Another survey conducted by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care also recently found that factors like credentialing and privileging, documentations, quality improvement and patient safety were common deficiencies. This report uses data from nearly 1,400 onsite accreditation surveys rated against the 2016 AAAHC Standards. Surveyed organizations include ambulatory surgery centers (ASC), Medicare-deemed status ASCs, office-based surgery facilities and primary care settings, including occupational and student health services.

All-in-one Compliance Management Overcomes Deficiencies
Healthcare providers can overcome these common deficiencies and strive for quality improvement by implementing a comprehensive, all-in-one compliance management system that allows doctors, nurses and administrative staff to effectively track and manage credentialing, education, compliance requirements, documents, and safety plans.

Below are four ways an all-in-one compliance management solution can help healthcare organizations overcome the deficiencies permeating across the industry and refocus on patient care:

1.) Streamline Credentialing and Privileging to Ensure Compliance
Provider information storage, document handling, verifications and regulatory checks should be managed within a single system to streamline credentialing and privileging compliance efforts. This not only saves time for doctors and administrative staff, but also ensures all the proper credentialing documents are up to date and accounted for.

A fully functioning enrollment center also allows healthcare organizations to enroll providers with new payers and track both enrollments and reenrollments. This type of solution will also automatically notify staff when credentials must be renewed, preventing any gaps in compliance. Some offices may opt to fully outsource credentialing departments to compliance experts who will completely manage all of the organization’s credentialing responsibilities.

2.) Centralize Document Management to Improve Accuracy
It’s vital to maintain accurate records of incident reports, policies and procedures, contracts, safety data sheets (SDS) and other key pieces of documentation. Implementing a centralized, secure document management system will ensure that healthcare providers have immediate access to the records they need, when they need them.

When selecting a system, healthcare providers should look for cloud-based solutions that will allow all necessary parties to access the right information at the right time, from any location.

3.) Optimize Processes for Quality Improvement
Accurate data collection, reporting and analysis and the optimization of current operating systems can drive quality improvement efforts. Without the proper reports, it’s difficult to know where improvements need to be made.

For healthcare providers searching for a reporting system, choose one that tracks and provides reporting based on location, department, employees and events. Analytical reports that compare time frames and departmental results give clarity for improvements, sustainability and long-term success.

4.) Promote Patient Safety through Preparedness
Authoring and maintaining safety plans, accreditation-ready policies and contingency plans is imperative for improving safety. An all-in-one solution will allow healthcare organizations to develop and maintain formal, company-wide safety plans, an infection prevention and control program, risk assessments, safe injection practices, and emergency protocols.

A unified system can also help healthcare providers easily prepare for safe day-to-day operations, mitigate risk, improve incident reporting when an event does occur, and ensure that the organization is properly meeting documentation requirements.

For healthcare organizations lacking in these areas, now is the time to implement a system to eliminate deficiencies and foster future growth and success. Healthcare professionals are already stretched too thin and an all-in-one system will relieve them of many of the administrative responsibilities of managing credentialing requirements. By streamlining credentialing and privileging, centralizing document management, optimizing processes, and standardizing safety practices, an all-in-one compliance management solution can help healthcare organizations overcome common deficiencies in standards compliance, save time and money, and get back to prioritizing high-quality patient care.

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About the Author: Steve Gallion co-founded MedTrainer to address the challenges of maintaining compliance in healthcare and now serves various other regulated industries, including retail, pharmaceutical, hospitality, grocery, manufacturing and technology. The company’s all-in-one compliance management system encompasses all the tools necessary to streamline management processes, increase departmental collaboration and simplify compliance.

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