Vendor Program Audits: Who’s at the Door

May 28, 2009 at 6:56 pm Leave a comment

Last week, I promised that the next few posts would look at how hospitals are auditing the participation in vendor programs.  We’ll kick off the review with this Best Practice example from WellStar’s Coding Assurance/Compliance Department.  

WellStar is a five-hospital system in the rapidly growing northern suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia area.  Like most healthcare systems, one of the goals of its program is to manage the access of vendor representatives to support patient safety and to minimize staff interruptions.   Three months after implementing sign in and badging guidelines, WellStar wanted to assess the impact of the effort.   A straightforward field review of its vendor program identified opportunities to clarify the program practices and improve participation. 

By observing 10 representatives as they came into a WellStar facility and conducting informal intercept interviews, WellStar gained valuable insight that improved its program.   What they learned: 

  1. More vendors are using the appropriate entrance point than previously
  2. Some departments actively send unregistered reps to the sign in station; others do not.   Some are denying red flagged vendors access; others do not.
  3. Reality in the field identified gaps between system requirements and department requirements
  4. Questions that define risk tiers and credential requirements cause confusion for some and lead to mis-classification.
  5. Some reps sign in under false or shared names to game the system.

 With learning like this, WellStar is already improving its program with a few tweaks to its program.   We’re finding other customers making similar changes, such as.

  1. Requiring badge photos to eliminate registration sharing.
  2. Simplifying questions about business relationship that define credential tier at registration to improve consistency and rep participation.
  3. Further refining department level requirements and integrate those within the vendor program.  
  4. Holding departments, as well as vendors, responsible for accurate participation.

Consider taking a couple of hours to watch what happens in your facilities.  Simple adjustments might make your program more successful for all.

(Vendors:   Update your WellStar registration.)

Entry filed under: vendor compliance, vendor management. Tags: , , , .

Vendor Program Audit Vendor Program Audits: The Documents

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