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Do you know the status of your life-saving equipment?

Our everyday lives are surrounded by technology and equipment. The personal equipment we use daily include devices that we regularly have to check before using; and have to replace when they are not working (razors, hair dryers, coffee makers, refrigerators, microwaves, etc). If we have equipment failures in our daily lives it might be an inconvenience, but it is something that can be dealt with easily. If we have technology failures in our daily lives (cell phones, laptops, tablets, etc) most of us jump to fix it as soon as possible.

What about hospital equipment that is potentially life-saving? When was the last time your critical life-saving equipment was checked? Last week? Yesterday? Today, when staff changed shifts? do you know? Even in a real time digital world many healthcare facilities are still using pen and paper to track compliance and daily checks of their life saving equipment. We don’t track the readiness of our personal daily devices by pen and paper so why would we with extremely important hospital equipment?

Do you discuss the status of your life saving equipment during daily safety huddles? Have you ever been asked to report on your equipment and had to say you don’t know if a crash cart is ready to save a life? EoScene’s ReadyCheck tool eliminates those paper logs and creates a management process for daily equipment checks. The process is more than just keeping notes; it layers notifications, escalations, and real-time reports to ensure that you always know the status of your life saving equipment.

In a world where we manage such things as, grocery lists, calendars, to-do lists, and so much more, using our phones or computers, why wouldn’t we apply this lifestyle to healthcare. Logging daily checks through pen and paper should be a thing of the past. Life-saving equipment needs to be tracked in a way that healthcare facilities can be ready to react as soon as possible whenever it stops working. EoScene is ready to help you automate your healthcare lifestyle and make you more prepared to get to any data you may need at any time.

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Avoiding Work-Place Hazards

safety-in-the-workplace

Accidents happen, but mistakes become frequent when workers get used to routine tasks. The problem is not the mistakes themselves, but instances when staff oversight results in serious error. Marge McFarlane, PhD., MT (ASCP), CHSP, CHFM, HEM, MEP, CHEP and principal of Superior Perforation in Wisconsin attributes these errors to a “conscious acceptance of obvious and familiar risk”. According to her, people tend to forget about the hazards associated with routine tasks because they have a history of successful completion. Unfortunately, the risk does not decrease over time and a simple error resulting from habituation to the task can have serious consequences. Even with the best laid plans in place, employees are most likely to make mistakes when a task becomes routine because the caution associated with addressing a new task is no longer required.

Simple oversight can result in an accidental combination of lethal chemicals, for example. This happened in 2014 when a worker combined muriatic acid and chlorine. Fortunately, no one was injured in this instance, though the entire hospital had to be evacuated. This instance occurred because the worker was completing a routine task in proximity of a chlorine based pool.

Another more tragic instance involved a veteran maintenance worker at MedStar Washington Hospital Center in Washington, DC in October 2013. This employee was responding to a routine maintenance call regarding a broken air conditioner when an unfortunate mishap resulted in exposure to toxic fumes. The freon leak had resulted in gases which consumed the maintenance room. After exposure, the 15-year employee was taken to the emergency room but later dies. Read the NBC news article here.

Three main areas that the healthcare industry can address to reduce the risk of workplace hazards include the Fire Safety, avoiding Slips, Trips, & Falls, as well as Infection Prevention.

Fire Safety: Are fire and smoke alarms functioning properly?

Knowledge about what type of fire-stopping is used in the facility is not only a requirement of the Final Rule <LINK: http://www.eoscene.com/dhhs-rule-on-emergency-preparedness/> (effective November, 2016) but also aids in preventing workplace hazards. Having facility staff regularly check fire safety protocols, such as fire and smoke alarms, ensures that the facility is compliant and ready in the event of an emergency. If all staff are informed and aware of Fire safety rules and emergency planning procedures, everyone can keep an eye out for deficiencies. This can be accomplished through proper training and documentation of procedures. For more information on avoiding Fire Safety citations, please see our blog <LINK: tbd>

Slips, Trips, and Falls: Are there any obstructions in the hallways

In case of an emergency or evacuation, clear pathways ensure secure passage to safe zones. Additionally, maintaining regular adhearance OSHA’s Slips, Trips, & Falls will ensure that the facility is securly up to date on compliance and removes any concern of liability. This facilitates

immediate evacuation if needed while preventing any unnecessary injury to staff, patients, and providers.

Keeping hallways clear and following regular inspection of various floor types and areas, can prevent workplace accidents. In an emergency, when staff are quickly moving around the facility, clear hallways ensure safe passage from area to area, as well as providing quicker, unobstructed movement. This ensures that providers and staff arrive promptly to better care for patients, and safely, allowing for patient care to continue without disruption.

Infection Prevention: Is Personal Protective Equipment available and properly used?

Infection prevention is common practice in healthcare facilities. But like many of the routine tasks that employees take for granted, going through the daily practice of infection prevention protocol puts experienced employees at risk for workplace error. These facilities and equipment can be inspected on a regular basis which greatly prevents the chances of a negative outcome. EoScene provides facility compliance software that ensures all infection prevention equipment has been checked and maintained, removing one level of concern for workplace hazards.

Additionally, EoScene’s partnership with automated temperature measuring equipment can be used to monitor temperature sensitive material. Ensuring that vaccines and medications have been safely maintained in a controlled environment prevents possible contamination and exposure of patients to compromised material. Preventing infection exposure is a simple process for healthcare facilities, and keeping up to date on facility compliance reduces risk of workplace hazards associated with potential exposure.

How We Can Help EoScene provides a suite of compliance software that ensures healthcare facilities are regularly monitored. Through the software, areas identified as in need of review are automatically escalated to the appropriate personnel. If left unaddressed, the issue is escalated until completed. Making sure that facility compliance is maintained and addressed properly provides a safe environment and prevents workplace hazards. Additionally, the checklist feature of EoScene ensures that every step of compliance is completed, preventing worker oversight due to “conscious acceptance of obvious and familiar risk”.

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3 Questions Joint Commission Surveyors Want You To Answer | How Can Eoscene Help?

jacho-surveyor

Question 1

What type of fire-stopping is used in the facility?

The joint commission is interested knowing specific brands of firestopping being used in a facility. This gives them a better understating of what to expect on the tour, and also establishes the type of conversations regarding training. All healthcare personnel should have training on firestopping and barrier management. The Joint Commission will now preempt their tour plans by inquiring about the type of fire-stopping before planning any building tour.

Eoscene can track the type of training healthcare personnel have received on firestopping and barrier management in great detail. The system also documents the specific brand of firestopping used in any facility. This provides quick and detailed information for the Joint Commission Surveyors upon request. Evoking a better idea of what to should expect during a building tour, enabling an accurate plan for a building tour, and providing accurate documentation of facility management and employee training. Every Health Care Facility has the ability for firestopping and barrier management across all assets.

Digital documentation through EoScene’s platform removes the hassle of searching through piles of paper searching for Brand information and employee training records. It minimizes the amount of physical records to be stored and updated, and easily enables supervisors to monitor employee training lapses or gaps. Easy tracking and reporting allows for management to keep track of when training is needed to be complete and which assets are remaining compliant. Eoscene places documentation on firestopping and barrier management at your fingertips in a concise and efficient way.

Overall impact: Health Care facilities need to track the process and type of training healthcare personnel have received on firestopping and barrier management. They also need to document the brand of firestopping is being used for ease of examination by Joint Commission Surveyors.

Question 2

What is the organization’s policy regarding accessing interstitial spaces and ceiling panel removal?

The Joint Commission needs to know about any restrictions in high-risk areas, specifically in regards to interstitial spaces and ceiling panels. Surveyors want to know about the areas that prohibit ceiling tile removal without special equipment, so they can arrange for the equipment to be available in a timely manner. Surveyors also use this information to determine the level of sophistication of the hospital when it comes to infection prevention and facility management. A larger facility without a policy in place would raise some red flags for the Joint Commission.

EoScene tracks which areas are high risk and if they are remaining compliant with Joint Commission standards. Documenting that there is a policy in place is key for things like HEPA systems removes some of the anxiety regarding a potential building tour. EoScene allows for reporting how the policy is being carried out in great detail. This provides accurate information regarding interstitial space, ceiling panel removal, and establishes competency and sophistication regarding infection prevention and facility management.

Overall impact: Health Care Facilities should be able to communicate their interstitial spaces and ceiling panel removal policy in high-risk areas, while also detailing the sophistication of infection prevention and facility management to surveyors.

Question 3

Which materials are used for high-level disinfection or sterilization?

(g89-lutaraldehyde, ortho-phthalaldehyde, peracetic acid, etc.)

Occupational safety and ventilation is paramount when it comes to chemicals being used for sterilization. As a result, the Joint Commission Surveyors are interested in knowing specific chemicals and how and how often these chemicals are being changed. Therefore, it is important to accurately document, track, and record facility sterilization records along with any equipment associated with proper ventilation.

EoScene’s system allows facility professionals to document exactly what chemicals are being used for sterilization and to report which groups are in compliance with manufacture regulation. With the digital documentation, EoScene provides accurate measuring and tracking of all sterilization chemicals and ventilation equipment. The Eoscene software can send alerts and reminders to identified personnel, ensuring that chemicals are being used properly.

Overall impact: Health Care Facilities Personnel should be tracking what chemicals are being used for high-level disinfection/sterilization. Along with how often the chemicals are being used, and if the environment meets manufacturer recommendations to remain compliant with the Joint commission building tour standards.

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Automated Temperature Monitoring Preparedness | Vaccines and Medications

 

vials of vaccines

Monitor the temperature of medicine and vaccines.

Power outages happen for many reasons including inclement weather, power surges, human error, and most terrifyingly during natural disasters. Every year, flooding, hurricanes, and severe traumatic events require healthcare facilities to operate under emergency situations and often with limited resources or operating on backup power sources. Unfortunately, not every piece of healthcare equipment is connected to a back up generator. This puts healthcare staff in an unfortunate position of allocating electricity to priority equipment. Energy resources can become strained when the healthcare facility is overwhelmed accommodating many patients in crucial need for care, which often occurs during traumatic events requiring emergency management . So what happens to vaccines, medications, laboratory specimens, or food that is stored in climate controlled environments when the power goes out?

Power Outages

While prioritizing patient care and emergency resources, less urgent healthcare equipment is at risk of going without electricity. Loss of power can therefore result in failure to maintain climate controlled environments. Fortunately, loss of power doesn’t have result in loss of inventory. Many medications and vaccines allow for variation in climate temperature before they need to be disposed of, giving staff the ability to allocate energy to priority equipment during a power outage. However, the next priority becomes making the right decision regarding whether to save or toss medications? Making the wrong decision puts patient safety at risk. As a result, many healthcare staff resort to a conservative approach regarding temperature controlled medications, which means, medications may be destroyed in an effort to preserve patient health and safety. This results in a loss of financial investment and valuable life saving medication. Ideally, healthcare facilities would be able to preserve as much valuable medication as possible. So what is the best way to assess the safety and viability of temperature controlled medications during a power outage?

Preventative Measures

First, you need access to a complete temperature log with detailed and regular recordings. Unfortunately, opening refrigeration units to take manual measurements during a power outage results in a faster breakdown of the controlled environment and increasing the necessity of disposal of valuable medications and vaccines. A more feasible solution is an internal temperature recording system that alleviates the need for constant disruption of the contained controlled environment. EoScene has partnered with temperature monitoring vendors that provide battery backup. This means that EoScene’s automated facility recording will continue to document and record temperature readings from within a controlled environment, without the disruption or door openings that standard manual temperature measurements requires. Because of EoScene’s set up, all readings are recovered when power is restored, documenting the exact temperature of your inventory for the duration of the power outage. EoScene’s Automated Temperature Monitoring system ensures accurate recording and documentation consistently during daily healthcare facility functioning and during unexpected periods of power loss. Meaning that healthcare staff can most accurately and confidently make the appropriate decisions regarding medication and vaccine preservation. This saves the facility time and money, while continuing to maintain life saving resources available for patient use

A feature of the EoScene platform and temperature monitoring system, is the ability to stay informed from anywhere. Meaning that wherever the day’s events take you, simply log-in to EoScene to ensure ongoing facility maintenance, recordings, and documentation. So that during the worst of situations, you can manage facilities from the safety of home, or while triaging in the field during a traumatic event. , from any device that is connected to the internet. Staying out of harm’s way by removing the need to return to the healthcare facility once the power is back on simply to check viability of inventory, and ensuring ongoing care to those in need.

One less thing to worry about when the power goes out, at least you know your inventory is being monitored so you can make the proper decisions when the lights come back on. EoScene provides confidence and reduces stress during an already stressful time.

 

Key lesson: One way to be prepared is to have a temperature monitoring solution that supports power outages.

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DHHS Announces Final Rule Impacting All CMS Providers | National Emergency Preparedness

 

disaster victim

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has just announced new requirements for national emergency preparedness, effective November 15th, 2016. After review, the DHHS determined that most healthcare facilities are not adequately prepared for the complexities that emerge with real life emergencies. This final rule will require all Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) providers to plan for a variety of disasters and modify their current emergency preparedness plans to comply with an updated list of requirements. The details of these new requirements establish standards for emergency preparedness based on proven best practices and documented results from real life emergencies such as 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and the 2009 influenza epidemic. These requirements are designed to establish a comprehensive, consistent, flexible, and dynamic approach to standardizing emergency preparedness.

 

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has identified four main elements essential to a comprehensive emergency preparedness framework. These include: Risk Assessment and Emergency Planning, Policies and Procedures, Communication Plan, and Staff Training and Testing. The following is a breakdown of the different components; understanding how these four areas impact emergency preparedness is imperative to developing a DHHS approved plan.

 

Risk Assessment and Emergency Planning

The final rule requires all assessments and emergency planning to take an “All-Hazards” approach to developing an emergency plan. This approach is specific to the unique situation, location, and vulnerabilities of different facilities, taking into account their location and the particular threats in the local area. The focus of this approach is capacities and capabilities to accommodate a wide range of different emergencies and disasters that threaten the individual facilities.

 

Types of emergencies to consider include:

  • Equipment failure
  • Power Failure
  • Communication Disruption
  • Cyber-attacks
  • Destruction of part, or all, of the facility
  • Disruption in supply of essentials

 

Policies and Procedures

Policies and procedures must be updated, and maintained, to support the emergency plan developed from the “All-Hazards” risk assessment. This means that in addition to completing a risk assessment and developing an emergency plan with consideration for the “All-Hazards” approach, the healthcare facilities policies and procedures must be designed to facilitate successful execution of the plan in the event of an emergency. This means that a comprehensive overhaul of current policies and procedures must be completed before the deadline of November 15th, 2016.

 

Communication Plan

The purpose of an emergency preparedness communication plan is to establish a system of communication between staff, physicians, and other necessary personnel in a timely manner. A successful communication plan ensures continuation of patient care and facility functioning while maintaining safety and efficiency. Identifying key personnel and developing a chain of communication ensures that in the event of an emergency, the healthcare facility continues to function as a whole and without disrupting patient care.

 

Staff Training and Testing

Appropriate training and testing is a necessity in emergency preparedness. As part of any emergency plan, all staff should be informed and prepared through adequate training. This can be confirmed through regular testing of staff, facilities, and equipment to identify any areas that need improving.

 

An effective training program must include initial training program of the newly developed emergency plan according to the “All-Hazards” risk assessment and must include all staff, new and old. To support this, annual trainings must be completed to complement the initial training and ensures maintaining staff knowledge of emergency planning, policies, and procedures. Additionally, facilities must also conduct regular drills and exercises to help identify gaps and areas for improvement.

 

In Conclusion

Ultimately, the final rule is designed to ensure that all CMS participating healthcare facilities, including hospitals, providers, and suppliers are adequately prepared for the unexpected. Drawing on historical evidence, and research that indicates many facilities are underprepared, the Department of Health and Human Services has outlined a new standard for emergency preparedness which takes effect on November 15th, 2016.

 

Make sure you are prepared, and learn how EoScene can help you maintain an effective emergency plan and facility management by calling 206-552-3449. We would be happy to review any of the key components of this final rule to make sure everyone is up to speed and prepared.

 

Link to CMS Final Rule: http://www.ashe.org/resources/pdfs/cms_rule_160908.pdf

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OSHA Slips, Trips, & Falls | Where to stand

slip and fall sign

Floors are probably not something that you spend a lot of time pondering. They serve a purpose, provide solid ground and support, and are often overlooked as a functioning component of a facility. However, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) is poised to finalize their Slip, Trips, & Falls Rules this August. We’ve been preparing for these changes, since the announcement of Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on May 18th, 2016 and here’s where we stand.

Not all floors are created equal, and OSHA requires you to pay attention. From food services areas to stairs, operation rooms, and parking garages, you’ll have to spend a little more time looking down. It is important to create a full walkway audit program, and not just a single survey, to accommodate for the variety of floors your healthcare facility encompasses. Even if the single survey qualifies as a check off towards accreditation. Proper preparation prevents poor performance, or in this case potential injury and litigation.

Everyone Is Part Of The Solution

Have multiple people conduct the audit. It is important to have multiple sets of eyes on your walkways. While you can hire a certified walkway auditor, and we always recommend bringing in the experts, they typically only visit annually. This leaves large gaps in time and increased risk for overlooking a potential hazard. We suggest having different people do walkway audits throughout the year. This raises awareness of slips, trips, and fall hazards. It also provides a different perspective on the state of your facility and provides continual feedback giving you the chance to take preventative measures.

How We Can Help

EoScene’s online compliance tool helps healthcare facilities take walkway audits to a new level. Scheduling walkway audits to various staff members, over the course of time is easy to do with EoScene’s platform. EoScene also makes it easy to report on problem areas, as well as corrective action taken, all from one dashboard.

 

Posted in: OSHA, Regulations

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