From the August 2019 issue of DOTmed HealthCare Business News magazine
By Alan Gresch
The data-driven concepts of evidence-based medicine that are constantly improving healthcare delivery also apply to improving outcomes and optimizing performance in managing technology and facilities.
However, a prerequisite is having complete and reliable data to mine. The old adage, “you can’t improve what you can’t measure,” always holds true. Without clean data and standards for keeping the data clean, you’ve eliminated opportunities to improve your processes and bring value to your organization. Below is key information that will greatly assist in laying the groundwork for cleaning your data, creating and implementing rules to ensure the data is complete and accurate, and establishing processes and policies to keep your data clean.
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Most healthcare technology management (HTM) and healthcare facilities management (HFM) departments have been collecting information in their Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) for decades with no rules around how that data should be captured and maintained. The resulting mess ends up providing little or no value for reporting and analytics. Even if the data was cleaned at one point, without a process to sustain cleanliness, the data can quickly lose its integrity and value. It is critical to first stop the garbage from going in.
Data integrity policy
Before doing any cleanup, first create and adopt a data integrity policy. This policy should establish rules for how staff should populate every field of the database, with clear definitions, nomenclature standards, and format. The policy should outline system security, assigning the lowest level of access possible for each role to effectively complete their work. Request, Failure Fault, and Result codes should be minimized and clearly defined. Workers, work centers, facilities, accounts, sources, device categories, models, manufacturers, assets, schedules, materials, procedures, and work orders all need to be defined and adopt an organizational and/or national standard whenever possible. One policy I created was 16 pages long and included a compliance commitment form that every staff member was required to sign. I’ve shared the policy with many in the industry and can make it available to others upon request to firstname.lastname@example.org. Note: for the policy to be effective, you’ll will need to extensively train staff to ensure there is clear understanding of the process and expectations.