March 03, 2020 | | Comments 0
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Burning with optimism’s flame: A future state in which surveys are less frightening…

As you are all no doubt familiar at this point, one of the key management processes promulgated by (or is it through?) the 2012 edition of NFPA 99 Health Care Facilities Code is that of the risk assessment as a means of determining how to best manage risks to folks using our facilities—patients, staff, visitors—it’s a tall order no matter how you parse it.

That said, I read a very interesting article in ASHE’S Health Facilities Management publication on how the industry might be able to start moving towards a standard process/practice with the (more or less) aim of being able to develop data that can truly demonstrate that the risk factors being used to determine the level of risk are supported by the numbers. Ultimately, the go-forward on this would be to have a robustly data-driven program for the management of equipment (utility systems equipment as well as medical equipment) that establishes a framework for performance, determining effectiveness, etc. that would be bulletproof during a survey. As a description of a useful future state (as opposed to the same ol’, same ol’ survey process of calm interspersed with periods of insane demands from our “customers”), I think you’ll find a lot to think about, so I encourage you to give it a look.

Moving on to what may be a trending esoteric finding, it appears that covering any outside cylinder storage locations might be one of which to be mindful. Strictly speaking, we are on the hook for protecting stored cylinders from overheating (with a target temperature of 130 degrees F—pretty hot stuff), which one might suppose is a least to some degree,  a function of geography (I would imagine there are some locales for which 130 degrees of ambient temperature might be an occurrence of some rarity. That said, if you do have cylinder storage space exterior to your facility, it might behoove you to document a little risk assessment (perhaps in coordination with your medical gas and vacuum testing vendor) to determine whether your cylinders are too hot to handle (strictly from a code perspective).

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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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