Nov 6, 2020

Virtual surveys a challenge for hospitals, poll finds

digital records
Leila Hawkins
2 min
Virtual surveys a challenge for many hospitals, poll finds
A poll found many hospitals keep hundreds of pages of paper records, leaving them unprepared for accreditation surveys...

A new poll among hospitals found half are unprepared for virtual accreditation surveys. 

ARC Facilities, a facility management software firm, carried out a poll among hospital directors and administrators that found that 50 per cent were not prepared for regulatory surveys since they have moved to a virtual space due to COVID-19. 

ARC's research indicates that 65 per cent of hospital facilities in the US keep building data in paper format. Additionally only 8 per cent said they had digitised their compliance documents. 

Healthcare facilities in the US must undertake regular accreditation surveys, typically every three years. These are carried out by surveyors who arrive on-site to perform the regulatory audits. 

During these audits they look through a number of documents that must be updated throughout the year, including logs for fire protection and medical equipment. 

Maintaining this paperwork - usually kept in hefty binders - is a laborious process, which involves hours of making photocopies and filing to keep documentation updated. 

As a result it's important to prepare for the audits, as hundreds of pages of compliance documentats need to be reviewed by the surveyors. 

Ironically, while the COVID-19 pandemic is helping drive the need for hospitals to go digital, many still use binders filled with compliance documents, completed repair reports, inspection logs and other information that must be shared with surveyors.

ARC Facilities carried out the poll at a recent webinar with Dennis Ford, who is Director of Facilities Operations at Atrium Health. The poll asked attending directors of facilities, engineering, compliance and education, how prepared they felt for virtual surveys. The findings included: 

  • 50 per cent said they are not prepared at all for virtual document review sessions conducted by hospital accreditation surveyors 
  • 33 per cent said that preparing for virtual surveys would take a lot of work, but they could do it
  • 8 per cent said they would be mostly prepared, but it would take some work
  • 8 per cent said that preparing for a virtual survey would be no problem because all their files are digital and organised

ARC has also found that many hospitals have rooms containing piles of building drawings, operations manuals, regulatory codes, and binders.  These rooms are hard to maintain and navigate. 

Another problem is the fragility of paper documents, with the possibility of fires, floods and excessive handling which contribute to erosion or destruction. The accumulation of decades of documentation is a real problem in aging hospital buildings.

Some key conclusions from the webinar included that digital conversions help maintain institutional knowledge so when someone leaves the organisation, information is still retained; and this makes updating compliance documentation easier, as it can be done automatically with a mobile device. 

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May 24, 2021

Schneider Electric's intelligent patient room: need to know

2 min
We take a look at Schneider Electric's new smart patient room. 

Schneider Electric has launched a virtual showcase that features its new "intelligent patient room". What is it exactly? 

Who: Schneider Electric is a multinational that develops energy and automation solutions for many different industries - including hospitality, education, defence, and healthcare. Founded in 1836, today it is a Fortune 500 company, and it currently provides technology to 40% of hospitals around the world, among them Penn Medicine, one of the top hospitals in the US where Schneider's EcoStruxure for Healthcare is deployed, an IoT solution. 

What: Schneider has launched its Innovation Experience Live Healthcare Lab, an immersive experience that takes visitors through a demonstration of a hospital, including the doctor’s office, the operating room, and the intelligent patient room. 

The room features a digital patient footwall - a touchscreen that creates a single reference point for patients, families and healthcare providers, by incorporating care information, entertainment and environmental controls all in one place.  A separate digital patient door display has important information for healthcare staff. 

All Schneider's equipment is low-voltage, and integrated so that the patient room, clinical needs and IT are all seamlessly connected, what Schneider calls a digital “system of systems.”

Why:  Mike Sanders, Customer Projects & Services in Healthcare Innovation at Schneider Electric, explains: “The hospital of the future will need to put the patient experience at the forefront, using innovative and connected systems to provide superior in-hospital care experiences.” 

“With the shift to remote work and business brought forth by the pandemic, we knew that we needed to invest in a new virtual experience that showcases our vision for a truly integrated healthcare experience. We believe our intelligent patient room is the solution that our healthcare partners and customers have been looking for, and we’re excited to offer a way for them to experience it no matter where they are in the world.”

Where: The virtual experience was modelled after the new innovations installed at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia, the first real-world installation of Schneider Electric’s fully integrated intelligent patient room technology. It is currently being hosted at the company’s St. Louis Innovation Hub and Innovation Executive Briefing Center (IEBC) facility.  

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