Need for Better Collaboration Between Health IT and Environmental Services

in Information

Research Findings: Strong Collaboration Between Clinical and IT Leaders Supports Better Safety and Quality

A study by Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), sponsored by Vocera Communications

Don’t Forget About the Basics

Everyone agrees that patient safety is a priority and improving the clinical environment is key to success. A recent study highlights the need for healthcare information technology and clinical teams to work together to better "facilitate, streamline, and document care" for better safety and quality. 

This is certainly not a new thought. The idea of IT working with the user to improve usefulness and quality has been around since the beginning of ones and zeros. Although this premise seems like a no brainer, it has not always been implemented and I'm sure those of us in the industry with some age showing have a number of stories of IT failures or subpar performance because the end user was not involved in creating the solution.

One of the reasons this may continue to happen is because workflows and tasks that were not automated are now coming online at an unprecedented pace with new technologies and implementations of existing technology. These tasks may involve a new set of users who traditionally may not have been working with IT. One such group of “new users” is the environmental services (ES) team.

Important Environmental Services Data

ES has important data that can be correlated with room data, personnel data and more to aid in infection prevention. Here are just a few of the data sets your ES department may be capturing

  • Disinfection/cleaning product usage
  • Cleaning staff inspection results (blacklight inspections, CDC checklist etc.)
  • Disinfection device (UV emission or aerosol/misting devices) events
  • Cleaning staff work logs (who, what, when, where)

Ultra Violet LightNew Technologies in Surface Disinfection

As numerous studies show, contaminated surfaces are a primary cause of harmful pathogens in hospitals. Along with standard infection prevention practices, new technologies to combat contaminated surfaces are increasingly executed by environmental services workers. New disinfection devices emitting UV light or vaporizing/misting disinfectant are used to supplement ineffective and inconsistent manual disinfection. Data on disinfection events can be captured and analyzed against patient infection data to determine effectiveness and improve the implementation of the technology. '

Environmental services generated data, is often overlooked by healthcare IT as a source to create new safeguards and streamline workflows, thereby improving patient care and safety.

The Bottom Line: Human CostA

With 1 in 25 patients incurring a healthcare associated infection (HAI) during their stay and over 75,000 deaths a year from HAIs in US acute care facilities, making the most of the available data is imperative. Let’s encourage health IT and environmental services teams to not overlook the value of environmental services data and its role in patient safety and quality.

About HAIvia, A DocuFi Spinoff

HAIvia strives to simplify and improve healthcare professionals’ decision making with easily accessible data analysis. Our solutions allow these professionals to easily capture and analyze their data and most importantly turn the data into actionable knowledge. This knowledge enhances patient quality of care and improves operational efficiencies in more than 500 hospitals every day. Learn more at HAIvia.