Monday, November 30, 2009

Question of the Week: Should Facilities Use Surveillance to Ensure Compliance?

An article in today's American Medical News highlights how Maryland is using $100,000 in federal stimulus funds to train volunteers who will secretly monitor hand washing in 45 of the state's 47 acute care hospitals.

Maryland isn't the only state turning to surveillance methods. Rhode Island Hospital requires surgeons to participate in at least two video-recorded surgeries a year after five wrong-site surgeries were reported in the past two years. In 2007, the Massachusetts Legislature considered mandating video recorded surgeries.

There are those who support the use of surveillance and those who don't. Dr. Mark Chassin, president of The Joint Commission says that if surveillance helps hospitals determine what is affecting performance, then it can be an aid. However, Chassin cautions against the improper use of surveillance data as ammunition against individuals in their personnel files.

Dr. Mark E. Rupp, professor of infectious diseases at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and president of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America believes that some providers will not like the "Big Brother" feeling that this system may impose.

What do you think? Is surveillance an effective way to boost compliance and help facilities identify practices that need improvement? Or do you think that this oversight method will cause more provider stress and anxiety?

Let us know what you think by taking this week's poll and providing your comments below.


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