No doubt, undergoing periodic accreditation inspections can be a highly stressful experience for most health organizations and their management teams. Many agencies like the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) perform inspections to check for basic industry safety standards. Yet, many organizations treat the ensuing results as “nitpicky” and fail to sustain their corrective actions and recommendations over time.
Instead of keeping the purpose and benefits of accreditation front and center, which is to reduce the prevalence of medical errors, health organizations may try to satisfy surveyors with an “act on your best behavior” attitude. Not surprisingly, this can lead to skewed results that ultimately hurt your ability to sustain quality care improvements.
Why not help your organization optimize the benefits from an accreditation inspection? Take a look at these Five Common Mistakes that organizations typically make that tend to stifle the effectiveness of their accreditation inspections.
1. Settling for a Weak Safety Culture
For starters, surveyors will look at the quality of your safety culture. It’s foundational to your success and it reflects your acceptance of the meaning behind accreditation standards.
Building and developing a strong safety culture starts at the top by gaining support from upper-management. Healthcare organizations who struggle to develop their safety culture tend to lose any progress made over time and revert back to unsafe habits and practices.
2. Using Manual Processes to Maintain Credentialing Records
Another common characteristic is health organizations who use manual processes to update their credentialing records. They are typically more prone to errors during inspection since most manual processes aren’t designed with a tracking and notification system. These systems can alert credentialing managers to upcoming expiration dates or incomplete records.
For larger hospital systems, the growing volume of records make it difficult and challenging to manage – resulting in a diminished quality of care. By comparison, employing a credentialing software and prioritizing organizational standards can help you sustain improvements made in maintaining credentialing records.
3. “Just-Fix-It” Mentality from Management
In the long run, management teams that approach their inspection results with a “just-fix-it” mentality will also fail to see the big picture of accreditation programs. When management is approached with deficiencies, they apply a quick relief to satisfy surveyors – instead of putting real-world sustainable solutions in place.
Why not view accreditation inspections as a snapshot that measures progress over time? When corrective action is implemented, there should be an effort to measure and maintain these improvements for longer-lasting relief.
4. Treating Inspections as Punitive in Nature
During an inspection, it’s common for medical staff members to feel apprehensive about being interviewed or surveyed. When medical staff are questioned, they tend to deliver rehearsed lines or overly cautious work demonstrations that can skew results. While this may help in earning accreditation, it is harmful to the long-term improvement of quality care.
5. Lacking an Improvement Plan
When it comes to sustaining continuous improvement, it is important to identify vulnerabilities and develop solutions. A Performance Improvement Plan can be effective in keeping management and the medical staff accountable for their quality of care.
Accreditation agencies like CMS will monitor a health organization’s progress over time. A Performance Improvement Plan can help you demonstrate due diligence in resolving any existing setbacks.
With some inspections being mandatory, it is in your health organization’s best interest to maintain efforts over time. Ultimately, inspection results should be treated as a benchmark for improvement so you can increase your organization’s quality of care.
Maintain compliance and reduce risk with compliance and credentialing solutions by symplr. We offer user-friendly, web-based solutions for healthcare organizations of all sizes and specialties. From provider credentialing to peer review, from vendor credentialing to exclusion screening, we’ve got you covered. For more information about compliance solutions from symplr, Schedule a Demo Now!
Learn more about the impact of an organization’s culture on accreditation with our webcast series, Changing the Culture of Accreditation DNV GL - Healthcare. This webcast is presented by guest Patrick Horine, President and CEO of DNV-GL Healthcare. With more than 35 years of healthcare management experience, Patrick will review key factors that lead to sustaining high quality care after accreditation.