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Technology to go from incident management to continuous improvement

By Craig Frost

In today’s post, I am emphasizing why incident management must be part of any compliance management software solution. In my other posts for this series, I note the criticality of managing tasks and licenses with compliance management software. Managing incidents is no less important and perhaps more vital.

When a patient has a clinical quality event, or a pharmacy has an issue delivering medications to someone on time, these outcomes, of course, vary from a pharmacy’s goal. Compliance software must have functionality (i.e., incident management) to help pharmacists and pharmacy managers document, manage, record, investigate, and resolve variances and issues.

Incident Management Tracking

According to Jeff Berning, business analyst for Specialty Pharmacy at Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center, “SectyrHub® LicenseTrak® is unique among software solutions because it tracks licenses, accreditations, and incidents; we needed this.”

Recording and tracking responses to incidents is not only important for complying with regulations but also for identifying trends to improve quality.

The director of retail pharmacy for a Midwestern healthcare system uses the SectyrHub LicenseTrak Incident Management module to show boards of pharmacy that his health system is carefully monitoring how it handles a prescription error and works with an employee to make sure it does not happen again.

“If the software shows an incident trend,” says the retail pharmacy director, “we might adjust a process or training.”

With LicenseTrak’s Incident Management module, if there is an issue with a license or a state’s Office of Inspector General, the system alerts the Midwest healthcare system’s retail pharmacy director, his team, and, if relevant, a pharmacist or manager. If, for example, there is a prescription error or a patient calls with a problem, LicenseTrak gives managers a way to document the issue, create a ticket, and disseminate a note. Software that supports standardization of incident response also gives managers a way to build a cache of documents to protect their organization against legal liability or loss of accreditation. The best compliance management software helps managers and staff gather information to prevent incidents and protect patients.

“LicenseTrak collects incidents as part of a ticketing system,” says a pharmacy technician who works for the Midwest-based health system mentioned above. “We use that for continuous improvement and to know we’re taking care of a patient’s needs.”

What is critical for managing incidents?

A good system will provide a five-step incident management workflow: record, review, investigate, resolve, and close incidents. Along with this, the system will fire off automated email notifications to staff and managers alerting them to upcoming and overdue tickets. The ability to easily upload and view documents supporting an incident ticket is also key.

Software that easily gives staff a standard way to record incidents will also boost the quality of usable information in each report. A versatile compliance management system will support any type of incident ticket including clinical issues, operational issues, and customer feedback. Unfortunately, incidents and variances are not exclusive to healthcare. A robust compliance management system should also enable managers to customize ticket-tracking forms for their respective industries and incidents.

In my next blog post, I will address task management, which is one of the four elements every compliance management software solution must offer to ensure Continuous Program Compliance®.