Can Facilities Management Can Impact The Patient OutcomeSurbhi Dixit
Can Managing Healthcare Facilities Improve Patient Outcome?
Creating a safe, hygienic environment for the staff, employees, patients, and visitors at hospitals is one of the cornerstones of managing healthcare facilities.
But can it improve patient outcomes? , for starts, a healthcare facility is a space that acts as an enabler of safe, cautious practices and encourages well-being that isn’t built in a day. Deliberations on establishing infrastructure and best practices are required to truly build, run and manage a health facility. From an architectural aspect to using the right materials for construction, from the legal aspects to regulatory compliances, from local standards to international – the whole healthcare ecosystem needs to pivot around inhabitant safety and well-being. It all goes to say that creating safe environments is a vision beyond inculcating hand hygiene: there needs to be hygiene in every action that happens inside such a facility.
For one, it directly impacts patient outcome: whether the floors have enough grip, whether there are handrails to grab on to while using convenience, whether or not the linens are cleaned according to protocol – it all adds up to the patient outcome. Let’s see how healthcare facilities can be managed better to have favorable patient outcomes.
Controlling Nosocomial Infections
Infectious diseases/conditions that spread internally at healthcare establishments are a cause of concern where basic hygiene policies are shaken up from foundations up. Practices like regular sanitizations, linen policy, isolation wards, use of PPEs and gloves, educating the staff, etc., need to be strictly enforced in order to safeguard the patients from contracting avoidable infections.
The Affordable Care Act laws have now tied Medicare reimbursements to Hospital Acquired Infections policies, which has the healthcare facilities on a spree to improve and bring their facilities up to par. One unfortunate statistic from CDC states that there is one case of HAI for every 20 every single day – which amounts to a lot when counting in masses.
Technology has a big role to play in augmenting intelligent capabilities to these facilities which encourage and promote patient safety. For example, draught controllers monitor the direction of airflow in or out of a contaminated room, helping curb the spread of nosocomial infections by the airborne channels.
WHO prescribes these practices to help curb the spread of HAIs.
Designing For Safety Against Falls
Overall patient safety involves ensuring that the circulation spaces of an establishment have provisions in place to prevent falls, slips, or other such physical accidents. CDC says that about 35% of the patients suffer injuries from falls at hospitals that can extend their admittance by almost another week – and this isn’t favorable. It has the potential to delay payments, and hospitals have limited financial incentives.
Planning the facility better to help patients avoid falls and physical injuries has two-fold benefits: patients recover faster, and hospitals are more efficient in delivering better healthcare.
One example is avoiding polished floors in corridors. There are many reasons that a hospital needs high-grp flooring:
- Stretchers can be wheeled with full control on a high-grip floor
- Patients can avoid slippage and falls
- Staff safety is ensured even when there is an emergency and they need to rush to attend to them
- High-grip floors are safe to walk on even when wet; in the event, there is spillage of liquids, they would still help everyone avoid falls.
Another fall that is frequent and high-risk is a bed-to-wheelchair/crutch (and the other way around) fall. Thankfully, technology has equipped many hospitals with the automated alignment of beds and assisted movement equipment to help lessen the frequency of such falls. As a result, patient outcome is improved.
Designing healthcare facilities from the get-go reduces patient risk to a great extent. For example, designing the doors to patients’ rooms to allow passage of medical equipment easily allows for the patients to not relocate in order to get the tests done. This reduces the risk of slippage and falls greatly.
In addition, any medical facility needs to be extremely well-lit to allow for easy reading and understanding of labels and text on medicine vials. The risk of erroneous drug administration can be eliminated by designing for ample natural and artificial lighting. Furthermore, ensuring proper ventilation promotes better healing and a healthy environment inside the premises.
Education in Safety
In addition to designing a facility that has safety features installed and imbued in it, it is of high importance to educate the inhabitants on how to use them. Staff should be participating in regular fire safety drills, they must know where the safety equipment is, the corridors should have guiding signs with proper labels in all the local languages and dialects – these are just some examples of educating the users of a facility to become familiar with safety measures.
The patient outcome can be drastically improved by paying a little mindful attention to the facility and augmenting it with elements that aid safety. Also,