By James Murphy, Head of Customer Success for Over-C (www.over-c.com)
In recent decades, quality and safety issues have become increasingly important in healthcare this fact has been accentuated by the coronavirus pandemic. As such, the amount of reporting and admin for staff has increased. Whilst this is a good thing for mitigating patient risk, the healthcare industry has traditionally monitored these circumstances using paper records, making the process very time consuming.
This system has become incredibly outdated, leading to potential audit failures, a lack of live insight into the day-to-day maintenance of hospitals and a detrimental impact upon patient care. Digitalisation could provide the answer to over- coming of these challenges in a wide range of healthcare settings, from hospitals to dental surgeries to care homes.
DIGITALISATION OF HEALTHCARE PLATFORMS
Digitisation of healthcare records provides a comprehensive system which supports the cleanliness, maintenance and up- keep of vital components of the healthcare industry. For example, sensors can monitor the air quality in an operating theatre helping to control the risk of surgical infections. Furthermore, monitoring systems ensure the operating theatre equipment is evaluated on a consistent basis, mitigating the risk of an operating theatre being out of action for a sustained period of time.
The digitisation of the healthcare system ensures no corners are being cut from frontline workers in their duty of care to patients and the maintenance of healthcare facilities. Digital systems also enable healthcare facilities to empower their frontline workers and gain complete transparency in the day to day running of operations.
Real-time workflow data and resource deployment are visible through the system, ensuring frontline workers know exactly what tasks need to be completed and that they are alerted to any potential risk. This helps achieve both a greater value from healthcare resources as well as a high-level duty of care to patients. This highlights the crucial impact maintenance staff have on the operations in a healthcare facility.
EMPOWERING THE WORKFORCE
Shifting to a digital approach also allows for greater collaboration between frontline workers and management. This creates an atmosphere of shared responsibility, increased productivity and employees feeling valued. This improved collaboration allows for greater prioritising of resources, allocating them in a more effective, efficient way.
Facilities management software aids awareness on routine tasks in hospitals which at times can be forgot- ten about. Digital platforms can set reminders of, for example, quarterly check-ups of back-up generators which keep healthcare facilities running in case of power failures, guaranteeing that healthcare facilities can continue to operate in the event of a loss of external power.
With healthcare facilities often located in old buildings over four or five floors, the nooks and crannies of healthcare facilities can often be overlooked; with digital operating systems, though, healthcare officials can be assured every aspect of the facility is monitored and maintained to the highest standard.
MITIGATING HEALTH RISKS
Mitigating the risk of spreadable diseases such as superbugs in hospitals is vital. Superbugs consist of resistant bacteria. The risk of a hospital being sued due to a patient suffering from a superbug whilst under the hospitals care is high. Outbreaks of disease in a hospital which is not consistently monitored and maintained are much more likely than outbreaks in hospitals where a high standard of cleanliness is kept. The ability to have insightful data in real-time allows healthcare employees to monitor areas where there is the possibility of surfaces becoming contaminated. Sensors can oversee all parts of the healthcare facility ensuring the healthcare facilities are managed, maintained and sanitised to the regulatory standards.
The digitalisation of records in hospitals is imperative in being able to conveniently and safely secure hospital records in an efficient manner. Traditionally, hospitals have relied on paper records for storing data on cleaning rotas, patient records and maintenance of healthcare apparatus. Not only is the paper records method inefficient, but the space needed to store the records and filing cabinets is substantial, taking up storage which could be put to better use storing vital medical equipment or extra PPE.
HEALTHCARE AUDITING ASSISTANCE
External audits of hospitals are used to assess characteristics of a healthcare-providing organisation against specified standards. The audits are rigorous and play an integral part in the quality assurance rating of a hospital. Digital operating systems ensure present and historical records are readily available to provide information for external audits or check on patient records. This makes the process efficient, cost-effective and allowing potential risk events to be identified and rectified quickly. All activity is logged and time-stamped assuring a complete auditable record can be given at the touch of a button.
The digitalisation of the healthcare industry is incredibly important for the future of healthcare facilities, and can ultimately assist in saving lives, enabling better allocation of resources and providing exemplary patient care efficiently. The coronavirus pandemic has brought to light how important a well sanitised, monitored and coordinated healthcare system is. Through State-of-the-art technologies and a shift of culture to a more collaborative approach, the healthcare sector can ensure the highest duty of care is offered to patients and front-line workers every single day, eliminating the elements of risk which are involved in the healthcare system. Digitalisation not only protects healthcare facilities from reputational damage, but ensures cost-effective strategies are in place so that every member of healthcare staff gets the credit they deserve.