The Importance of Cleaning as Part of Your Healthcare Quality Management System (QMS)

A male in hospital scrubs and hospital hat is sitting at a desk while smiling down at his phone with a laptop and stethoscope sitting on the desk in front of him.
Quality Management System in Healthcare

The purpose of a quality management system in healthcare is to ensure that healthcare organizations provide the best possible care and uphold high standards of patient safety. Typically, a healthcare QMS focuses on the performance of providers and how they interact with patients.

However, it shouldn’t be any secret that hygiene standards are a critical aspect of patient safety. Your providers aren’t the ones mopping the floors. How well your janitorial staff cleans your healthcare facility should be included in your healthcare QMS, alongside provider performance.

If you’re looking to integrate cleanliness into your healthcare quality management system, this article will show you how. We’ll discuss the importance of cleaning practices as part of a healthcare QMS and how you can roll it out as part of yours.

Why Building Hygiene Standards Are Critical in a Healthcare Quality Management System

Chances are, you already have a system in place regarding hand washing at your healthcare facility. Building cleanliness standards have a similar urgency. Your provider may have clean hands, but what they washed off their hands could still be on your floors, desks, or railing. 

If you haven’t already set janitorial and facility cleaning standards in your healthcare QMS, here are a few of the reasons why you should.

Reduce the Risk of Hospital-Acquired Infections (HAIs) 

According to the CDC, 1 out of every 31 hospitalized patients contracts an HAI. Historically, lack of adherence to hand washing protocols has been the top reason for this spread. However, this hand washing issue has gradually improved in recent years. 

Still, HAIs continue to be a prevalent problem. This is partially due to improper facility cleaning practices that should be standardized in your QMS.

It’s probably fairly obvious that soiled equipment, bedsheets, and other surfaces should be cleaned. However, not all needed protocols are obvious. For instance, you also need to ensure that staff aren’t using the same cleaning equipment in multiple areas without proper disinfection. Cleaning equipment can, ironically, be what spreads pathogens from one area to another.

Healthcare Quality Management System

Image: WHO suggested cleaning routine for healthcare janitorial services. 

Protect Immunocompromised Patients

Immunocompromised patients, such as those undergoing chemotherapy, organ transplant recipients, or those with chronic illnesses, are at a higher risk of contracting infections. They’re also at a higher risk of experiencing severe complications as a result of the infection.

As such, there’s no room for hygiene errors when it comes to these patients and there are ethical implications to neglecting cleanliness standards in their presence. Their presence (or potential presence) at your facility stresses the importance of rigorous, standardized cleaning protocols for all janitorial staff.

Reduce the Risk of Onsite Accidents

Proper janitorial practices not only prevent the spread of infections but also reduce the risk of onsite accidents. Wet floors, clutter, and improperly stored equipment can pose a risk to patients, staff, and visitors. 

Furthermore, neglected spills and clutter can damage the surface they are on. This damage makes the surface more difficult to clean in the long-term. Bacteria, fungi, mold, and other biological materials can settle into damaged surfaces and be difficult to clean out.

Increase Staff & Patient Satisfaction

A clean and well-maintained healthcare facility provides a more pleasant environment for both patients and staff. Patients will feel more comfortable and staff will feel more valued and motivated to provide high-quality care and maintain those high cleanliness standards. 

Furthermore, a clean environment boosts your healthcare facility’s reputation. When patients perceive your facility as clean and well-maintained, they are more likely recommend it to friends and family, and leave higher patient satisfaction scores.

Maintain Industry Compliance Standards

Incorporating building cleanliness into your healthcare quality management system can help ensure that your facility is consistently meeting industry compliance standards. Proper documentation of cleaning and disinfection practices can also provide evidence of compliance during regulatory inspections.

Read More About the Importance of a Clean Facility

For example, The Joint Commission has specific standards for infection prevention and control that include building cleanliness. Healthcare organizations that are accredited by The Joint Commission are required to comply with these standards and are subject to regular surveys to ensure that they are upholding compliance.

How to Effectively Integrate Cleaning Protocols Into Your Healthcare QMS

Knowing why you should do it is one thing, but it’s another to implement your new standards. Implementing a QMS can take some time, but there are some standard steps you can follow to make it more efficient. 

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Develop Comprehensive Cleaning Protocols

Start by creating detailed cleaning protocols that outline the specific tasks, schedule, and methods for each area of your facility. This should include guidelines for cleaning high-touch surfaces, floors, restrooms, and patient rooms. Ensure that your protocol addresses the unique needs of different areas, such as operating rooms, isolation rooms, and common areas.

Involve Clinical Staff

Encourage collaboration between your cleaning team and clinical staff. Clinical staff can provide valuable insights into the specific cleaning needs of sensitive patient care areas and can help identify potential sources of contamination.

Document Your Cleaning Practices

Maintain detailed records of your cleaning practices, including assessment results. This documentation will serve as evidence of your adherence to cleanliness standards that can be used during regulatory inspections.

Train Your Janitorial Staff

Provide thorough training to your janitorial staff on the cleaning protocol you’ve developed. Ensure that they understand the importance of their role and how these standards will improve patient safety. Regularly update and refresh their training to keep them informed about best practices any time your protocols change.

Monitor and Assess Cleaning Performance

Monitor and assess the effectiveness of your cleaning practices. This could include visual inspections, microbial testing, or the use of surface imaging technology to evaluate the removal of contaminants. Use the results of these assessments to identify if there are areas for improvement and adjust your protocol as needed.

Regularly Review and Update Your Protocols 

Periodically review and update your cleaning protocols to ensure that it reflects current best practices and addresses any new risks. Stay informed about emerging pathogens, compliance updates, and the latest recommendations for infection prevention and control.

How Can Optisolve Help Solve Your Medical Facility Cleaning Challenges?

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Simplify Cleaning Quality Assurance at Your Healthcare Organization Using Technology

Improving quality within your healthcare cleanliness protocols doesn’t have to be complicated. Even if you have a large janitorial staff count, you can roll out your standardized cleaning procedures with ease.

Optisolve SAVI® is designed to help you face this challenge. Our cloud-based technology lets you set specific protocols and roll them out to your whole team in real-time. This also means that if any changes occur, everyone will have access to them immediately. 

SAVI® is also perfect for helping you ensure everyone is following your set standards. Our tool allows real-time onsite assessments to determine the effectiveness of every cleaning job. You can use these assessments to prove your adherence to compliance bodies or enhance your cleaning practices.

Contact Optisolve today to get started with a more tech-SAVI® healthcare cleaning solution.