Vendor Program Audits: From Homeroom to First Period

July 1, 2009 at 9:12 pm Leave a comment

Back on the topic of vendor program audits, this week is about auditing the hospital’s own participation in the vendor program.   I’ve made my middle-school son the stand-in for vendor representatives, so let’s turn the table and make his teachers the analogy for hospital staff.

Our school system has a set of guidelines for teachers.   But not surprisingly each teacher approaches the task at hand differently.   And that’s good.   The teachers’ training and experience should be respected.  

But at the same time, that variety can make it difficult for the administration to manage the less glamorous parts of running a school and for the students to figure out what to do.   

It’s the same with hospitals.   Each department wants to do what it believes is best and with its own style.   But that grass-roots level initiative can make it difficult for administration to be confident standards are being met across departments and for vendors to figure out what to do.  

The key is balance.   Standardize the routine so that flexibility is possible when needed.

From a vendor program standpoint, sign in and badge status reports by department are the teacher’s pets, telling which departments aren’t toeing the line.  

Here’s what many of our customers do. 

First, run a report of all vendor rep sign-ins for some period — say a week or a month.   Sort it by department.  Which departments have the highest visitor traffic?   Is it the ones you expect?   If patient care areas like the cath lab aren’t at the top of the list, you know that something is off.   On the flip side, if no one is signing in for pediatrics, that’s another problem. 

Now sort the list by badge status within department.   Do you see a department with a lot of non-compliant vendors?   Stop by and find out why that department isn’t collecting the required documents.    Maybe that document isn’t really relevant and that requirement should be dropped.    Maybe that department doesn’t understand that your vendor program is about getting the mundane paperwork out of the way, so that the staff can focus on care delivery, not risk management.

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

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