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Environment of Care In The Ambulatory Setting

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Environment of Care In The Ambulatory Setting

Environment of Care In The Ambulatory Setting

The following is an excerpt from a recent TJC article, written by Kathy Tolomeo on July 26, 2017. (Article link no longer available.)

Ambulatory health care facilities face many challenges in ensuring the quality and safety of care of their patients. One TJC Environment of Care standard that has been particularly challenging for ambulatory care organizations is EC.02.06.01, which requires establishing and maintaining a safe, functional patient care environment.  

Given how crucial this environment of care standard is, it’s important for ambulatory care organizations to evaluate common issues that can:

  • prevent them from meeting their requirements
  • trigger noncompliant findings
  • compromise patient or staff safety in the physical environment

Unfortunately, ambulatory centers that qualify as “ambulatory health care occupancies” very often do not have staff dedicated specifically to maintaining a safe environment, which makes it harder for these health care organizations to stay on top of potential issues.

Many organizations make the mistake of using the EPs in EC.02.06.01 as a checklist, which means they may often cross off items too quickly.

The following measures can help your ambulatory care organization create a safer environment:

  1. Conduct risk assessments.
  2. Improve rounding and environmental tours.
  3. Refer to important codes and guidelines.
  4. Take advantage of Joint Commission’s EC tools.
  5. Remember TJCs intent. They aim to prevent deficiencies that compromise patient and staff safety in your ambulatory organization’s physical environment.

Interested in a real world example?  Montefiore Health System's Environmental Health & Safety department has improved safety and reduced fines with Readiness Rounds' performance improvement solution.  Download the free white paper here.

Value-Based Purchasing is Here to Stay

The following is an excerpt from a recent article in Health Leaders Media written by Rose Higgins on July 24, 2017.

By the year 2020, value-based care could be the dominant payment model for healthcare organizations.  Healthcare provider organizations will have to deal with new realities – by implementing new strategies.

Those realities are:

  1. Healthcare networks will need to focus on efficient care delivery.
  2. Healthcare delivery systems will increasingly compete on quality and cost.
  3. Care delivery is best developed and delivered by teams with a focus on care coordination.
  4. Value based care is here to stay.

Higgins lists the following strategies for success:

  1. Understand the data that your organization collects.
  2. Prepare to rely more heavily on layering data (clinical, financial, behavioral, etc.).
  3. Use predictive and prescriptive analytics to transform data into impactful intelligence.
  4. Drive quality improvements. 
  5. Manage population and financial risk.
  6. Optimize provider networks.

The adoption of value-based payments is happening now and accelerating rapidly. It is our observation that payers, providers and consumers are transitioning to these models, but each at varying speeds. Regardless of their location on this path, healthcare organizations need to focus on using data and analytics as a tool that will guide them in meeting their quality-based goals.

Security Strategies Must Include Protecting Patients and Their Data

From an article in Healthcare IT News written by Bill Siwickie on August 18, 2017.

Hackers have proven they can get through hospital networks into medical and Internet of Things devices, which is why it is crucial that patient safety be prioritized when outlining a security strategy to make sure that hackers can’t physically affect patients.  Caring for patients transcends beyond their health and includes their information. 

“A breach of a patient’s record can lead to identity theft and, worse, medical identity theft,” said Anahi Santiago, chief information security officer at Christiana Care Health System in Delaware. “Medical identity theft is serious and can cause a patient significant financial and physical harm.  An incorrect medical record, due to someone using a false identity, can lead a clinician to make a diagnosis or clinical decision based on bad information.”

Securing patients records should be as critical to hospitals as basic cleanliness, hygiene and procedures designed to stop physical infections.

Those healthcare organizations that can ensure safety in the physical and virtual realms for their patients will benefit from a higher trust, the true critical component in healthcare.

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Read last month's News to Know blog post here.

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