July 18, 2012 | | Comments 1
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It’s so easy, it’s so easy, it’s so easy (repeat ad infinitum)–so doggone easy!

When you compare it to sustaining improvement, actually making the improvements to start with is rather like the proverbial piece of cake.

One of the common themes I’ve been running across (and sometimes running into) in my consulting work is the frustration that comes with encountering conditions and/or practices that the organization thought had been resolved. And it’s generally not big ticket stuff and it’s generally not the types of things for which additional education is going to be making a significant difference.

It’s those pesky, pain-in-the-butt things like refrigerator temperatures (missing the daily checks, documenting out-of-range temperatures with no corresponding action), the perennially inappropriately secured compressed gas cylinder (maybe it’s just one such cylinder and it can travel through time and space), certainly not good or safe practices, but just as certainly as frustrating as all get out to find time and again.

As we’ve discussed in the past, the “purpose” of the semi-annual (for patient care areas) and annual (for everywhere else) environmental tours is to evaluate the effectiveness of previously implemented activities intended to minimize or eliminate environment of care risks. So, how do those little indignities that we bump into during environmental tours fit into the larger picture of things like our annual evaluation process? Do we use that process to point out those vulnerabilities in any way?

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it any number of times in my work life – the organizations that manage this process best (and thus, manage the survey process best) are those that have hard-wired safety into the day-to-day operational responsibilities of everyone (well OK, maybe not everyone, but pretty darn close) in the organization. Safety is not something that occurs once or twice a year or when a regulatory survey is in progress. Safety has to occupy a place in every moment of every work day for as many people as you can beg/con(vince)/press into the cause.

So, when you conducted your most recent annual evaluation, how prominently did you feature the successes, and perhaps more importantly, the opportunities identified during your hazard surveillance tours. Anybody?


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Filed Under: Environment of care


Steve MacArthur About the Author: Steve MacArthur is a safety consultant with The Greeley Company in Danvers, Mass. He brings more than 30 years of healthcare management and consulting experience to his work with hospitals, physician offices, and ambulatory care facilities across the country. He is the author of HCPro's Hospital Safety Director's Handbook and is contributing editor for Briefings on Hospital Safety. Contact Steve at stevemacsafetyspace@gmail.com.

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  1. In a recent safety lecture it was recommended not to put security cameras in stairwells or at Fire Exits. We wish to use security cameras on our Fire Exits, your advice would be greatly appreciated.

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