Assuring quality and safety of care is a growing concern in healthcare. Healthcare accreditation agencies have developed standards that focus on patient safety. To achieve and maintain accreditation, hospitals need to be at a constant state of readiness, which is driving the need for ongoing internal auditing to reduce the risk of non-compliance and pursuing continuous improvement.
Tracers are an excellent way to measure processes and practices and to evaluate hospital compliance to standards, guidelines and protocols. The method provides valuable feedback, when executed in an adequate, collaborative way, to pursue continuous improvement in patient safety and quality of care.
The Mission Challenge
The last decade more and more accrediting bodies recommend the use of tracers as an instrument for demonstrating compliance and gaining meaningful insights in improvement opportunities, rather than former audit methods and retrospective reviews, to bridge the gap between standards (and also guidelines and protocols) and practice.
The tracer is designed to trace (evaluate) the care of patients throughout their hospitalization and the environment of care and its performed in real life practice through observation and verbal interactions with colleagues outside of their immediate team. Gathering the data in this way means promoting collective engagement and an creating atmosphere of open knowledge sharing and specific feedback provision; all essential elements for a sustainable improvement strategy.
In our solution compliance is encouraged trough a technology-based internal audit and feedback system (“tracer system”) based on the tracing approach of world-class accreditation bodies like Joint Commission International (JCI) and Accreditation Canada International (ACI).
Whereas the main focus of the accreditation bodies is on controlling and judging, the tracer system is focused on supporting the wards and their professionals in their improvement.
When adequately performed, to get the most out of your effort, tracers can be quite complex and labor intensive. Recently, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement has stated that hospital organizations today have little capacity to analyse, monitor, or learn from safety and quality information.
Another related challenge on top of it is the often-underestimated value of tracers amongst healthcare executives, making it more difficult for organizations to justify investing in new innovations to support the implementation. Common cause is ignorance about the convenience provided by technology-driven innovation and the cost savings it can generate.
Read how our customers enable themselves to optimize patient safety and quality of care through standards and accreditation by establishing a process for transforming tracers to continuous improvement using a tablet based technology solution and benefit from this cost-effective way of working.
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Thank you for downloading our case study. I hope that this information will inspire and help you to effectively implement a tracer-based audit and feedback system as the catalyst for continuous improvement.