Improving hygiene standards in healthcare with digital work management technology

19-May-2017

David Davies, Managing Director, Checkit, outlines the benefits for hospitals in going digital

Staying on top of strict cleaning and hygiene regimes is critical for the safety of patients and staff working in any healthcare facility. Checklists have traditionally been used to ensure that all the tasks required to achieve daily compliance to hygiene standards are completed on schedule. However, printing paper checklists and then manually filling them in can be inefficient, unnecessarily tying up staff and management time. In an environment where irregular shift patterns can mean that multiple people are in charge of completing the daily tasks and monitoring the results, it can also be challenging and time-consuming to maintain routines to the required standards. Paper-based lists also present the potential for human error and even fraud, increasing the risk of serious consequences to patients.

Moving to digital work management can help counter these issues and help healthcare providers implement more efficient cleaning and hygiene routines across all areas. The checklists needed for completing the daily tasks can be programmed directly into a digital system and viewed by staff on handheld touch-screen devices. The digital checklist will prompt staff when a task is due, and provide instructions on what needs to be done.

The easy-to-use technology, further supported by wireless sensors to enable automated monitoring of key focus areas and enables even junior staff members to perform the required tasks with minimal training. It also helps ensure consistency in the way the daily tasks are performed.

The results are recorded on the handset and directly uploaded to the cloud. If the results are not acceptable, e.g. if a fridge temperature is outside the pre-set safe parameters, the device will provide information on the next steps required to correct the issue.

Notifications can also be set to alert management to any irregularities to enable quick corrective action. Monitoring that staff follow the set hygiene routines can be challenging, especially for managers responsible for multiple sites. Digital work management technology provides access to all sites’ records remotely, enabling real-time monitoring.

The cloud-based system vastly reduces the amount of paper work staff have to complete each day, freeing up valuable storage space and enabling staff to focus on more productive activities.

What is more, with digital records, facilities can be audit-ready at all times. The time-stamped records can also provide proof, when required, that the facility meets the highest standards for hygiene.

One key area where checklist technology and digital monitoring can significantly help improve compliance with hygiene standards is looking after patient samples and medicines in healthcare facilities including labs and patient wards. If patient medication is not stored correctly, or if it is damaged during storage due to high or low temperatures, it can pose a serious risk to patients. Automated monitoring of storage facilities can help increase safety, as automatic alerts can be set to send notifications if the temperature is outside the set parameters.

The wireless sensors can also monitor door opening and closing as often as required.

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