Well, ain’t that a fine how do you do?

By Steve MacArthur, Hospital Safety Consultant

This should be a relatively quick news item that will impact organizations being surveyed by our friends in Chicago starting January 1, 2023. So, starting with the new year (as announced in the November issue of Perspectives), there will be a “quick” (I guess I already used that, but sometimes…) safety briefing included with the opening conference of the survey visit.

The intent (and I think this makes a fair amount of sense—as I think about, it’s probably something they should have been including for a while) is to provide a safety briefing to the survey team (by an individual or individuals chosen by the organization) to cover the expectations for the survey team in the event any safety plans are implemented during the survey.

The types of things that are in play would relate to fire/smoke events, workplace violence (including active shooters), and any specific occurrences that might be encountered by the survey team during survey; for example, civil unrest, labor actions, etc.

Again, I think the idea of a concise safety orientation for the survey team makes a great deal of sense—they should be as prepared to respond in an emergency as possible. Emergencies are frequently unpredictable (understatement of the day) and providing them with some basis of the organization’s response protocols, etc. will likely make them more comfortable with the process (and perhaps give them an opportunity to observe organizational response in the meantime).

At any rate, once we kick off the new year (and heck, maybe you want to start before then—I really think it makes sense), make sure that your introductions include the safety briefing.

Also, in the November Perspectives, the Consistent Interpretation article focuses on survey findings relating to the inspection, testing and maintenance (ITM) of high-risk medical equipment (as defined in your Medical Equipment Management Plan). It would seem that the points of contention revolve around the use of manufacturer’s instructions for use when determining ITM frequencies and activities, including automated external defibrillators (AEDs), and making sure that failure events/incidents have clear follow-up and/or corrective actions. I think a lot of this comes down to effective communications with end-users and making sure that intermittent failures/issues that occur outside of the normal preventative maintenance cycle are being reported or captured in the process.

They don’t refer to it as high-risk for nothing—keeping tabs on these lovelies is of critical importance.

About the Author: Steve MacArthur is a safety consultant with Chartis Clinical Quality Solutions (formerly known as The Greeley Company) in Danvers, Mass. He brings more than 30 years of healthcare management and consulting experience to his work with hospitals, physician offices, and ambulatory care facilities across the country. He is the author of HCPro's Hospital Safety Director's Handbook and is contributing editor for Healthcare Safety Leader. Contact Steve at stevemacsafetyspace@gmail.com.