HCA Hospitals Pioneer Revolutionary Real Time Hygiene Auditing System
02 March 2010
HCA's six leading independent hospitals in central London have all been awarded the top five star status for cleanliness and safety in the first UK survey by the revolutionary electronic Quality Inspection Tool, e-QIT.
The hospitals, The Wellington, The London Bridge Hospital, The Harley Street Clinic, The Portland Hospital for Women and Children, The Lister Hospital and The Princess Grace Hospital, have consistently achieved high standards of cleanliness in recent years. In 2009 for example, there were no cases of hospital acquired MRSA in any of them.
The revolutionary new e-QIT system uses special hand held computers loaded with a comprehensive database which includes the complete layout of hospital buildings from the largest wards and theatres to the smallest cupboards. Senior staff can then use the tool to inspect, photograph, log and report on infection control, cleanliness, infrastructure, décor and health and safety issues - in real time.
If any of the thousands of measurables stored on the laptop are not up to standard, departmental heads are given an agreed timetable to rectify the situation. These state-of-the-art inspections will be carried out on a regular basis or as a spot check with no prior notice given to staff.
e-QIT was developed by Infection Control Services Ltd, a company formed by six consultant microbiologists, in collaboration with HCA International Ltd.
Project leader for HCA, Sue Smith, who is also Chief Executive Officer of the Princess Grace Hospital, said that before e-QIT was developed, an inspection was only as good as the person who looked at the audit results. "Until now systems of inspection and audit have really only been a paper trail and there was always a danger that things would be overlooked. There was little or no accountability," she said.
"Now we have a mobile, flexible tool with a huge database which includes current legislation and regulations and which demands that non compliant situations be dealt with immediately and under the responsibility specific manager. The system, which automatically uploads findings onto our IT network, simply won't allow problems to be left or forgotten," she said.
The leader of the e-QIT development team at Infection Control Services, microbiologist Michael Shemko, said one of the goals was to make e-QIT future proof. "Legislation is changing as new methods of improving hygiene and health and safety in healthcare become available. When the goal posts change, e-QIT can be immediately upgraded and this in turn, modifies inspection and compliance criteria," he said.
HCA International President and Chief Executive Officer, Michael Neeb, said he was delighted with the success of the new system. "I congratulate everyone involved in this most important project. This is an industry first and the result of an innovative partnership which will enable all healthcare providers to create and maintain a culture of constant high standards in infection control, cleanliness and health and safety," he said.
The e-QIT system is being rolled out to HCA's diagnostic and outpatient centres in and around London, over the coming months.