Every hospital and imaging center gets inspected. Depending on the licensing body and the state in which it is located, this may involve the imaging equipment or everything in the facility including financial records and building maintenance. The question is, “are you ready for that inspection?”

For those that would answer “Yes,” the follow-up question, is “How do you know?” The answers that are typically given are often found to be unsatisfactory. Indicating that all the preventive maintenance is done, or that service is documented is a good start. Documentation alone may not be enough to meet the requirements of the inspecting body fully. Is your test equipment calibrated and are certificates of calibration readily available? Has the competency level of those working on the equipment been documented and is it readily available? Do you know what an inspector from the state health department, Joint Commission, or Health Facilities Accreditation Program (HFAP) is looking for during an inspection? Too often the answer to any of these questions is either “no,” possibly “maybe,” but more often, “I don’t know.” The logical question that follows is, “How do I find out?”

Most medical systems have an individual tasked with inspection preparation. That person will have access to all of the codes, rules, and guidelines that are issued by the inspecting bodies. (You may be able to obtain these documents independently. However, they are usually expensive, and if the health care system you belong to has them, there is no need to duplicate the expense.) The ability to look at the same guidelines and rules as the inspectors should not be underestimated. They create a map of how to prepare for an inspection. The person responsible for inspection preparation will be grateful for any help that you can give before an inspection.

The preparation that you do for inspections can usually become part of standard workflow and documentation. By keeping an inspection folder, paper or digital, on a continual basis a great deal of stress is removed from the process. This gives the institution a leg up for inspections and makes your work even more important to the health care system. It also makes or increases integration into the imaging department team.

For Independent Service Organizations (ISO) this may be an opportunity to make life easier for those you serve. Offering an inspection packet that is created by working with those responsible for the hospital inspection preparation may prove to be invaluable. While it may not be a fit for every site or every customer, those that can benefit from it will see the value when it is discussed.

Finding out when your inspection windows are, what bodies will be inspecting, and what you can provide to make it as painless as possible is a win all around. Make inspection preparation part of your workflow and documentation. It will increase the quality and professionalism of the work that you do.

 

John has twenty years experience in imaging service including general radiation, mammography, CT, and Nuclear Medicine. He has worked for third party service companies, manufacturers sales companies, and in house imaging teams. Currently John is the manager of clinical engineering at Catholic Health. John holds a B.S. in Health and Human Services Management from Wilberforce University.