Katie, Bar the Door

November 19, 2008 at 4:46 pm Leave a comment

One of our newest customers, a large hospital in the Southeast, was in the process of kicking off their program when this event occured.   

On Wednesday, a vendor rep came to call.   With no badge, no appointments and no products on the approved supply list, the rep wandered the halls, buttonholing every physician he could find.   Administration eventually rounded him up and sent him on his way. 

Yet, he came back the very next day and started working the Med/Surg floor again.   He ran across a physician conducting a family conference about potential treatment modalities for a very sick patient.   The rep lurked behind for a while, then chimed in, “I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation.   I have a product that may be helpful here.”   The physician was appalled and scolded the rep for interfering, particularly because the product proposed wasn’t appropriate for the case in question.   The family, desperate to explore any promising course of treatment, began to quiz the physician about what the rep had said.   The physician then spent 20 minutes redirecting the conversation away from the rep’s comments and back to realistic options. 

Once the family was back on track, the physician stormed to the C suite to complain.   Obviously, Administration was very concerned.   Concerned about patient confidentiality (what had the rep heard?).   Concerned about the patient family’s experience (how confident would the family be in the quality of care after this confusing experience?  Does the family doubt the physician’s directives?). 

Administration convened an emergency meeting that evening with department heads to remind them of the current vendor rep policies and to emphasize the importance of everyone’s participation to ensure compliance. 

But how could the staff have know that this person was a vendor, not a family member?   How could today’s shift have known that this was the same guy that was kicked out just the day before? 

Events like this happen every day at hospitals across the U.S.   Unfortunately for the vendor community, behaviors like this make all vendors subject to tighter restrictions.   No healthcare system can afford the physician and staff time required to clean up after incidents like this. 

In response, this hospital is moving to unique vendor badges with even tighter access controls than previously planned and fast-tracking its timeline.  Perhaps one slipped through, but the next one won’t. 

 

Entry filed under: Badging, risk management, security, vendor management. Tags: , .

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