REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER
GraftTracker® simplifies record keeping and ensures Joint Commission compliance
A 125-bed acute care hospital in northern California.
The manual, paper-based tracking system used to document tissue throughout the hospital was inefficient and incomplete.
The hospital now has an integrated, centralized digital system for tracking all tissue that meets Joint Commission compliance.
Like many other facilities, Regional Medical Center in northern California struggled for years with devising a system for effectively tracking tissue. Using a paper-based system, then a spreadsheet-based system, the staff and administrators experienced the frustration of difficult to maintain and incomplete record keeping. As more strict tracking requirements were enacted by The Joint Commission, the need for a more comprehensive and user-friendly system was clear. The GraftTracker program from Champion Medical Technologies was implemented to fulfill this need.
Tracking by hand: Inefficient and incomplete
The hospital had tried two separate tracking systems by hand. The first system was paper-based and handwritten. There were several issues and challenges with this system:
- When a nurse went to the freezer for an item, they would have to go flip through many pages in the log book to find the correct lot numbers.
- When items expired, they were often removed and discarded, but not necessarily logged, so there was no record of where that item ended up.
- The process was so time intensive that sometimes transactions would not be logged leaving records incomplete.
A new system using a spreadsheet was tried next. Using Excel, a file was set up to track each piece of tissue. While this was an upgrade from the handwritten system, the spreadsheet system still presented challenges:
- Because data was entered by hand, there was still the possibility of human error.
- There was no effective way to search for a specific lot number.
- Only one user at a time could access the file, so if there were multiple cases going on at once, the staff managing those cases would have to log on and off repeatedly to allow access to each other.
- The system was still so time consuming for staff that information was not fully tracked.
In addition to the day-to-day inefficiency and frustration experienced by the employees who used the system, both of these methods required regular maintenance on the administrative level to ensure ongoing compliance. Under both of these manual systems, management would have to spend two full days every six months sorting through all of the information to get it completely updated. Over time, use of these systems represented significant costs to the hospital due to inefficiency.
Tracking with GraftTracker: Efficient and Meets Joint Commission Compliance
When hospital administrators learned about GraftTracker, they saw the program’s potential to resolve the efficiency issues and also to ensure Joint Commission compliance. As with any new program, there was a learning curve for the staff, but within a couple of months, everyone was trained and up to speed. now, with GraftTracker in place:
- Errors in tracking have gone down significantly. Management completed a test in which they spot-checked tissues on billings against the records in GraftTracker for two months straight. This test period revealed no errors in record keeping.
- Any information about any tissue lot can be found instantly.
- Access through any internet station is simple and multiple staff can access the system simultaneously.
- An added benefit is that Champion Medical Technologies maintains all of the tissue company certifications on file. Any certificate is available immediately by email or phone call to the company.
Joint Commission Compliance Audits
Anne smith, Assistant director of Operating Room, described her experience with Joint Commission audits:
“Under the old systems, the auditor would ask to see the records relating to a tissue. This would require tracking down the chart, having billing run reports, and following the paper trail. At times, this data was incomplete or missing. The process was very cumbersome and time consuming for staff.” Since implementing GraftTracker, the audit experience is significantly different:
“During our last review, the auditor asked to see the bone freezer. All of the information he requested was available instantly. The Joint Commission auditor said he had never seen a system so organized. We walked through the various scenarios (what to do for recall, etc). The response to each scenario was available instantly through the program. He was very impressed.”