Before 2008, St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, part of Saint Joseph Mercy Health System (SJMHS) and Trinity Health, was using a home­grown vendor credentialing system. The hospital had developed its own internal database and used paper sign-in sheets. It was easy for vendor representatives to bypass the system and access the 537-bed facility without providing credentials or checking in. This made it difficult to know who was in the hospital at any given time.

In order to create a safer and more secure environment for patients and staff, Saint Joseph Mercy and the other six hospitals in SJMHS needed to know that all healthcare personnel, including vendor representatives, were properly trained, had read the system’s policies and met all other requirements. A standardized credentialing system was no longer an option, but a must. The entire Trinity Health network, one of the largest Catholic healthcare systems in the nation, implemented the Reptrax™ vendor credentialing system.
In the beginning, St. Joseph Mercy struggled to get employees on board with the program. However, once the departments understood its value to ensure that all vendor reps were properly qualified, the implemen­tation became much easier. Today, the hospital staff enforces a “No Badge, No Entry” policy. Jon Morehouse, senior system administrator at SJMHS, shares an example of a rep who drove several hours to meet onsite with a surgery group. The rep wasn’t properly registered in the system, and therefore was denied entry.

In the name of patient safety, Morehouse and the team ban representatives for non-compliance. They can be banned for 30, 60 or even 90 days, if necessary. Though these measures can be inconvenient for the hospitals and, obviously for the reps themselves, the supply chain team and the health system puts the needs of the patient first. “We absolutely have a culture of safety, and that starts with the fact we are patient centric,” Morehouse explains.

St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor is a 2014 5 Rings Award winner. Learn more about our 5 Rings Award program and how we are recognizing healthcare facilities that have created a culture of vigilance, resulting in the safest possible environments for both patients and staff. This blog was excerpted from a case study. To read the full paper as well as learn how other 5 Rings Award winners improved patient safety at their hospitals, click here to access our case studies.

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