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(1/2/2023)

The new year marks a natural reset after the busy holiday season, which is why New Year’s resolutions are so popular on a personal level. For organizations, creating resolutions offers an opportunity to re-evaluate priorities and strategies. Of course, projects, successes and challenges will carry over from the previous year, but the beginning of a new year gives us all a chance to set new goals and start the year off strong.

As we head into the new year, we’re focusing on three ways you can start your healthcare facility out on the right foot for 2023.
 

New-Year-2023.jpgFocus on safety

The healing environment is central to our work at Medxcel. It’s vital that all individuals entering our facilities – patients, their families, clinical staff, maintenance staff and more – are met with a surrounding that feels comfortable, healthy and safe. Hospital visitors are likely to experience a range of emotions, and the facility around them should not contribute to negative feelings.

This is why integrating safety protocols into daily operations is key – everyone should feel safe at a healthcare facility. The effort starts internally with associates by promoting a culture of compliance that prioritizes safety. Safety shouldn’t be just checkmarks on a list, but a foundation that ensures staff can do their jobs and patients can receive care in a comfortable setting.

First and foremost, this begins by identifying and mitigating risks to ensure patient safety, which is key to limiting preventable harm. Facilities should consider all possible risks, including:
 
  • Reducing self-harm risk by surveying and addressing ligature points, as well as training staff to identify concerns with and around patients. Properly trained staff can identify these risks and take immediate action to minimize opportunities for self-harm and ultimately save lives.
  • Protecting patients and employees from infectious diseases by following protocol, including sanitary regulations and masking compliance. This is especially important this winter with the “tripledemic” of flu, COVID-19 and RSV. Associates should quickly identify at-risk patients and ensure they are treated in separated units.
  • Preparing for emergencies. This includes everything from active shooter plans to natural disaster procedures. Plans should be specific to your facility, and all staff must be trained on the steps to follow depending on the situation. If you haven’t recently reviewed your facility’s procedures, the new year is a good time to review and update your plans and practice drills. Ideally, you won’t have to use the plans, but it’s paramount that they be current and ready to go for the safety of everyone at a facility.
Create a positive workplace environment

A culture of safety is important at your facility overall, but this isn’t the only building block of a successful team or positive patient experiences. Employee engagement directly correlates with patient experiences because employees have the potential to significantly impact the environment in positive or negative ways.

Start the new year by checking in with staff and seeing how they’re doing. Some ideas include:
 
  • Measuring employee engagement by implementing focus groups or employee surveys to gather direct data. These tactics can help you learn more about how your team feels about their workplace and demonstrate to your associates that their voices are being heard.
  • Addressing any concerns and actively improving your organizational culture through a long-term strategy. If employees are disengaged, this won’t change the environment overnight, but building a strong and supportive environment will lead to more engaged and enthusiastic associates.
  • Ensuring your team feels cared for and prioritizes their mental health. Burnout is a real concern in healthcare, especially over the past few years. Allow your associates the space to breathe and take care of themselves to prevent burnout. Not only does this build a stronger staff, but it also builds a stronger healing environment for everyone visiting your facility.
Ensure continuous survey-readiness

Not everything can be a checklist, but survey readiness can be. Facility managers must stay vigilant and prepared for both planned and unannounced surveys from The Joint Commission or any other governing body. Focusing on safety and a positive workplace makes surveys run that much smoother because your facility can address most non-compliant issues beforehand.

Start the new year by thoroughly assessing the condition of your physical environment and identifying any compliance gaps or areas for improvement. Following this review, create an action plan to solve issues ahead of the next inspection. From there, conduct random assessments on a regular basis to ensure continued compliance and address any new issues before a surveyor finds them.

At Medxcel, we use a state-of-the-art Facilities Management Operating System to organize policies, procedures and regulatory documentation required for compliant operations. Through this system, facility managers can:
 
  • Schedule out preventative maintenance to avoid overspending on rush service fees ahead of an inspection.
  • Track progress as it relates to regulatory requirements.
  • Maintain compliance with vendors.
  • Keep an eye on data from other facilities’ public surveys to identify areas surveyors are focusing on.
Together, all of the above factors create a strong healing environment and will ensure 2023 gets off to a great start. That said, these tactics can be difficult to handle alone. If you or your facility need support creating a safe, positive and compliant healing environment this year, schedule a consultation with us. We’re happy to help build a strong foundation with you for future success.