Clean, Swipe, Click!
Date: September 1, 2013
Until recently, when Environmental Services (EVS) cleaned a Johns Hopkins Hospital operating room, they would note it on a paper log kept at the nurses’ workstation. EVS supervisors, clipboard in hand, would then go station to station to monitor the cleaning progress and compliance.
While this manual system seemed adequate for years, Johns Hopkins’ focus on improving patient safety and infection control prompted EVS to search for a better way to track the progress of the high-traffic ORs as they underwent the strict wipe, wash and disinfect protocol, known as “terminal cleaning,” required by the Joint Commission. EVS contacted the health system’s Operations Integration department for help.
The result is a color-code-based digital system that improves documentation of cleaned rooms, allows nurses and EVS supervisors to proactively check and continuously monitor a room’s “clean status,” and automatically notifies EVS supervisors when a room is at risk for not being cleaned within the required 24-hour time.
Nurses no longer need to review paper logs to determine if they can start a patient case. “Costly delays and cancellations in surgery due to questions about the clean status of a room have been eliminated,” says Catherine Boyne, senior director of Operations Integration.
After being tested in Weinberg, the electronic terminal cleaning tracker system now operates in roughly 60 rooms in the Sheikh Zayed Tower, The Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children’s Center and Wilmer.
Eric Schmitt, IT project manager, and Rahiem Burgess, senior software engineer, developed the application, which Schmitt describes as a one-click process. The “tap-n-go” technology, similar to how workers swipe in at work and gain access to buildings, works this way: An EVS employee cleans an OR, then swipes his or her badge at the nurses’ workstation in the OR to attest that the room has been cleaned. The system’s central dashboard, which collects data from each OR and reports it to EVS and Nursing, indicates the cleaned rooms with a green light, while those rooms requiring cleaning register as red. A yellow light alerts staff if a room has not been cleaned in the past 24 hours, regardless of use.
This tracker not only documents who cleaned the room and when, but also logs the room number, building and floor. If the Joint Commission asks for cleaning records, managers can easily print a report, Schmitt says. “The data that we collect will provide detailed insight on how EVS is performing in regards to operating room terminal cleaning.”
Supervisors can watch the dashboard in real time from a PC, smartphone or tablet. Seeing the rooms, grouped by building and floor, helps them engineer a more productive workflow, says Millicent Hester, EVS manager of the OR. “The cleanliness rates are about the same, but it’s definitely much better than the old system. The employees also feel more empowered using the technology.”
The Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center will soon adopt the clean room tracking technology, and it is under consideration for the entire health system.