“He is most free from danger, who, even when safe, is on his guard.”(Publilius Syrus)
While the immediate fear of a U.S. Ebola outbreak may have passed for now, there remains a source of unrest with regular reports of cases of unfamiliar diseases. Some have made their appearance in the U.S. before while others are showing up on U.S. soil for the first time. Regardless of their history, or their origin, healthcare facilities need to build a vigilant line of defense against them to protect patients, staff and visitors.
During the recent Ebola situation, some hospitals set up triage stations near entry doors questioning every visitor who entered:

Had they traveled outside the country in the last 21 days?
Had they recently run a fever?
Had they experienced a cough or runny nose in the last few days?

Lines formed and the process caused staff members to be tied up continuously for several days. The hospitals were following CDC’s guidelines for the prevention of Ebola virus disease (EVD) transmission in U.S. hospitals which state visitors should be screened “before entering or upon arrival to the hospital.”
However, the CDC visitor guidelines are not new and were not originally drafted specifically for Ebola. The CDC’s Guideline for Isolation Precautions: Preventing Transmission of Infectious Agents in Healthcare Settings was originally issued in 2007 to reduce any transmittable infectious disease in a healthcare facility. In fact, the 2007 guidelines explain that “visitors have been identified as the source of several types of healthcare associated infections (HAIs) (e.g., pertussis, M. tuberculosis, influenza, and other respiratory viruses, and SARS).” The guidelines encourage hospitals to work with visitors to stop the spread of disease stating, “Patients, family members, and visitors can be partners in preventing transmission of infections in healthcare settings.”
Vigilance, on every front, is the best way to reduce the risks of any infectious disease and demonstrate your facility’s commitment to a safe and secure environment. Being vigilant means developing consistent risk-management actions and making sure they remain both current and fully operational. But even though TJC recommends knowing “who is entering the organization and their purpose at the organization,” and the CDC has long called for the establishment of “procedures for monitoring, managing, and training visitors,” setting up a triage table to screen everyone who enters isn’t a practical solution for a busy, financially strapped, hospital.
The answer lies in finding the right partner in vigilance—a company who can focus on the screening and verification of everyone who enters the hospital, while allowing hospital employees to concentrate on patient care. However, finding the right partner can be tricky. A partner in vigilance must be able to support the existing safety philosophy of the hospital, while serving as a resource on how to improve the safety and security of the facility. In addition, the partner must be in it for the long-haul, as culture changes take time to grow.
Hospitals with internal credentialing and verification systems are often challenged by a lack of dedicated resources and technology, but this is an area where under-investment results in unacceptable risk. Working with a vigilant partner like IntelliCentrics may be just the thing your facility needs to meet your safety goals and increase patient confidence. Our SEC3URETM credentialing and privileging system allows you to engage with every person who enters your facility, ensuring that your policies are applied consistently and universally.

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