A facility audit can invoke a boatload of stress, causing thoughts like: Are we ready? What can we do to prepare? We are a great facility, but how can we show that in an audit?
Adequate preparation is an integral part of ensuring your facility’s reputation and accreditations aren’t jeopardized. Having a robust understanding of the various types of healthcare audits performed and maintaining compliance can feel like an arduous task for any facility. After all, establishing a safe working environment while simultaneously delivering a high-quality patient experience calls for clear communication, well-defined procedures and policies, and comprehensive training at every level of the organization.
What’s The Purpose of Auditing?
There are many facets of the medical world that healthcare audits seek to regulate, like worker safety, patient care, and claims and billing. Audits are pivotal in ensuring hospitals and healthcare facilities are in compliance with regulatory and legal requirements. Although they may seem daunting, audits can effectively improve patient outcomes, identify weaknesses in safety procedures, and identify opportunities for cost savings.
For instance, the CDC reveals an estimated 8 million healthcare workers in the U.S. – ranging from physicians to research laboratories workers – are potentially exposed to hazardous drugs each year. To address the issue, the USP 800 compliance standard was established to provide crucial guidance on adequately managing hazardous drugs and ensuring safety practices are incorporated into a facility’s protocols.
This is just one of the myriad of standards that healthcare organizations are expected to uphold to decrease long-term liability and create an optimal working environment. By gaining a robust understanding of how and why audits contribute to improving the quality of healthcare delivery, it’ll minimize stress and ensure your organization sets itself up for success.
How To Prepare for an Audit
It’s vital to invest time in comprehending the standards and regulations your facility must adhere to. Depending on the size of your practice, consider appointing a designated team or individual to oversee changing guidelines and communicate protocols needed to ensure compliance.
Having access to an up-to-date list of protocols and practices that’ll come under regulatory review is an imperative piece of your organization’s overall operational procedures. This can include a wide range of resources – from documentation and record keeping to hospital claims and protocols for specific healthcare conditions, like diabetes monitoring. It’s crucial to understand how these regulations apply to your facility and what practices can be integrated into your operations to ensure standards are continuously upheld.
Once you’ve gained a firm grasp on quality requirements, your facility will be armed with the information needed to implement strong operational standards, such as engineering controls. These insights will also allow the organization to review work practices, like signage and training, to ensure you’re properly complying with regulations. Don’t forget to proactively share these policies and procedures with staff – arming them with this knowledge will allow them to feel confident when navigating future audits.
The key to success? Always be prepared to see an auditing team enter your facility – even unannounced. And you can do so by conducting mini internal audits periodically to review standards and confirm the proper protocols are in place. Even a periodic walk-through of your facility to communicate with staff members and ask questions is an effective way to both prepare for an audit and give personnel the opportunity to shine with their knowledge.
Put the Control Back in Your Hands
Actively monitoring and improving upon operations is an imperative part of strengthening the patient experience and ensuring your facility is prepared for an audit. Being proactive is the best way to identify potential weaknesses and set your organization up for a safe and effective workplace.
Are you looking for someone to take your team to the next level in audit preparedness? Your staff will play a significant role in solidifying quality protocols, delivering high-quality care, and driving upward mobility for your organization. Contact us here at Polaris Placement Services to find your next leader in Quality Improvement.