Three-hospital System Creates Survey Prep Tools

Matt Phillion, for HealthLeaders Media , June 23, 2009

CoxHealth, a three-hospital system in Springfield, MO, is currently awaiting its latest triennial survey at any moment. Fortunately, with a series of survey preparation tools and practices in place, the system's accreditation coordinator was confident in the system's ability to handle the pending survey.

Preparation and education for staff has become an evolving concept for hospitals, says Ruth Anne Moore, accreditation program manager at CoxHealth.

"There are more scoring opportunities than ever before. Eventually this will all be helpful but for now" it means putting the newest and most accurate information in the hands of the people who need it, says Moore. This means multiple presentations to leadership, department heads, and other managers.

The organization has also devised survey tips and preparation processes that occur at steady but not overwhelming intervals—weekly, biweekly, and monthly—to help keep all staff and departments prepared for the next survey.

The J-Blitz is a survey prep tool doctored to meet the specific needs of the system.

"Blitz was a quick, 'offensive' rather than defensive term to prepare for a survey," says Moore. "A cheat sheet of sorts."

The tool, a weekly checklist of preparatory tasks, had been in-house for some time, but had really become something the system relied on over the past year.

"We had it out there, but we really weren't using it until this past year, knowing that we were scheduled for a full triennial survey," says Moore.

Specific staff members use the J-Blitz—in essence a last-minute check list to prepare for surveyor arrival—every Sunday night to catch last minute details.

"We asked managers to designate someone to do this every Sunday evening—we're scheduled for a five-day survey, so surveyors are probably going to show up on a Monday morning," says Moore.


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