Tissue and related specimens present a unique tracking challenge for hospitals and surgery centers – these often expensive and occasionally one-of-a-kind items are required to be closely monitored during the hospital’s handling of each unit. The US Food & Drug Administration (FDA), state Departments of Health and hospital accreditation bodies, such as The Joint Commission (TJC), all have varying levels of standards for tissue tracking. Hospitals across the US have taken unique approaches to solving these tissue tracking requirements, and many hospitals have adopted processes that require significant administrative time by clinicians to maintain adequate documentation of their tissues.
Why you need a digital audit trail for tissue
While the tissue tracking requirements from the various regulatory and accreditation bodies may be burdensome to hospitals, the actual process for maintaining that documentation can be greatly simplified. Make sure that you have a system in place that captures all tissue-related activities in a digital format, such as iRISecure software from Mobile Aspects. This software, which is coupled with RFID technology, will provide substantial benefits for your staff involved in the tissue tracking process. They will spend less time entering and maintaining their tissue-related documentation and will also have the ability to use that electronic information about their tissues to make rapid decisions and continuous improvements. Making all of the activity surrounding each tissue traceable in an electronic format using iRISecure will provide, at a minimum, the following tangible benefits:
- Validated, digital documentation for inspections and audits
- Real-time alerts in case any data entry is skipped
- Increased charge capture for billing
- Improved operational efficiency through data analytics
Validated, digital documentation for inspections and audits
With multiple visits to your hospital occurring annually by surveyors from The Joint Commission and other hospital accreditation bureaus, tissue bank associations, state Departments of Health and others, there is a high probability that your tissue processes will be audited this year. During these inspections, survey methodologies like the tracer method will demand that your department presents a log of all tissue-related activities, from receipt to implantation, in a timely, accurate and reliable manner.
The demands from surveyors have become increasingly sophisticated over time. The expectation now is for electronic data to be presented in near real-time. This is a big departure from the days of paper files, when time to respond was measured in hours or days, not minutes. If your department wants to make sure that the next survey goes well, make sure that digital documentation of all of your tissue-related activities is available instantaneously for your surveyor. If you’re still searching through log books and three-ring binders for the required documentation, there is a definite risk of a negative finding from the surveyor.
Today, a digital audit trail of all tissue-related activity is a must for any hospital. iRISecure will act as a central repository of all tissue-related data, and will allow you to present to surveyors a validated set of electronic documentation regarding your operations. This documentation will also become especially useful in the case of a potential infection control issue. Previously, staff had to search through hundreds, if not thousands, of paper records to find the necessary data for their investigation. This process can now be replaced by a digital search that can be completed in just minutes.
Real-time alerts in case any data entry is skipped
One of the key elements of any credible tissue log is that it must provide a complete view of all activities surrounding each and every tissue that enters the hospital. Any missing or partial entries are targets for citation by surveyors reviewing your tissue procedures. To avoid these circumstances, hospitals must put the right processes in place to ensure that all data about each tissue is entered every time.
However, making sure that all data is entered into log books or databases can become an extremely time-consuming process. Quite often, the trigger to search for missing information occurs when a used tissue package comes back to the employee in charge of tissue. If the employee notices any missing information regarding the usage of that tissue in the tissue log, they will have to launch a laborious process to track down the clinician that handled that tissue along the way and gather the relevant documentation.
Instead of launching a retroactive investigation, a digital audit trail coupled with RFID technology allows for the proactive investigation of missing tissue documentation. Sophisticated algorithms built into iRISecure software allow any missed documentation to be identified in real-time and alerts can be sent to tissue administrators. With this information in hand, they are able to collect the missing data as the tissue is implanted, saving them hours of research required to collect this information retroactively.
Increased charge capture for billing
Tissues are expensive items for hospitals to keep in stock. They can range in cost from hundreds of dollars per tissue to tens of thousands of dollars. Any tissue that goes undocumented by staff is a missed revenue opportunity for the hospital. In today’s healthcare environment, where the reimbursement environment is constantly changing and profit margins are razor thin, hospitals can’t afford to leave any money on the table.
iRISecure allows for 100% charge capture for all tissue used in your hospital. The combination of automation provided by the use of advanced RFID technology and the missing data alerts ensures that no data goes missing from your tissue log. With 100% charge capture related to all tissues, you are allowing your hospital to recoup valuable dollars that otherwise may go unclaimed.
Improved operational efficiency through data analytics
With a digital audit trail of your tissue, you can begin to gain a better understanding of how your hospital uses tissues in its procedures. You will have access to data including which tissue types are being used most often, and which are being used least or not at all. You’ll also have a solid understanding of how much inventory you have on hand versus what you actually need given your hospital’s caseload.
With advanced data analytics built in to iRISecure, you’ll see insights about your tissue that were previously only available to users of advanced materials management systems. With the ability to understand tissue usage patterns and compare them to your stocking levels, you can begin to right-size your tissue inventory and return valuable dollars to your hospital. You’ll also benefit from expiration management reports that will alert you about upcoming expirations and increase patient safety. Depending on your arrangements with your vendors, this may also save you the cost of expired inventory, another savings for your hospital. You can also set smart timers that tell you when a refrigerated or frozen tissue has been out of cold storage for too long and needs to be disposed, another boost to patient safety.
How iRISecure creates a digital audit trail for tissue
iRISecure captures all tissue related activity from dock to final usage and creates a digital log that is easily accessible and easily searchable. iRISecure’s advanced RFID technology eliminates manual data entry and ensures the highest level of compliance by staff due to the built-in real-time alerts. You’ll also gain the benefits of a full inventory management system that will help reduce costs and increase revenue for your department.
No more hand-written log books, no more aimless investigations into missing data and no more missed charges – just electronic documentation that makes your department more effective and more efficient. When The Joint Commission comes knocking, blow them away with your ability to trace all of your tissue-related transactions instantaneously in a digital format. When documentation is missing, proactively track down the information instead of doing so hours or days after the fact. And ensure that your hospital is being paid fully for all of its work by achieving 100% charge capture of all the tissue used in your department.