For 30 years, ATG has understood the importance of working closely with healthcare facility management professionals to not only identify problems, but to collaborate on strategies to solve them. The Healthcare Advisory Group (HCAG) was founded on this concept, and its bi-annual meetings provide the opportunity for focused discussions between ATG and industry leaders on the development of technologies and practices that enable hospitals to effectively address areas of need.
As was the case in previous sessions, the HCAG Spring 2017 meeting touched on a variety of topics, but compliance and changing regulatory requirements continued to be a hot button issue. This focus was due in large part to a number of changes announced by The Joint Commission over the latter part of 2016 and early 2017. The two-day event, held at ATG headquarters and attended by representatives from healthcare systems across the country, included an in-depth look at the latest Joint Commission standards, as well as a conversation on ways to address them.
Day 1 kicked off with a discussion on new Joint Commission requirements that increase the frequency of inspections for doors, exit signs, and sprinkler heads. While the impact on resources caused by these increases can be significant, members noted that such complexities are effectively offset by existing ATG technologies. With continued input from the HCAG and other healthcare industry leaders, the ongoing development of these technologies ensures that they are always keeping pace with the latest AHJ requirements.
Continuing the focus on compliance, a subsequent conversation centered around the importance of maintaining a consistent Environment of Care rounding schedule, despite the fact that it is no longer required by The Joint Commission. Participants agreed that continuing these practices remain critical to ensuring a safe environment, whether they are required for accreditation or not.
Other day 1 highlights included topics such as Statement of Conditions processes, ventilation testing, emergency preparedness, and space characterization. The discussion on emergency preparedness was particularly robust, as members expressed views on the value of having the right tools to manage drills and exercises, as well as the dire need for emergency teams to have quick access to facility floor plans in times of crisis.