OPERATIONAL PERFORMANCE

Why is the standardization of skin health more important than ever? Get the facts.

What is the best way to do a thing?
It is the sum of all the good ways we have discovered up to the present.
~ Henry Ford1

Defining standardization

Ford may have been talking about a different form of standardization, but the general idea remains the same today. Standardization, at its core, is simply aligning a process to specific standards. But in the healthcare field, standardization is defined by implementing and adhering to evidence-based best practices. This helps to assure successful outcomes as well as control costs to patients and facilities alike. But when it comes to skin health, the need for standardization is more important than ever.

While many industries, including automotive, nuclear, and aerospace have been able to respond to major safety crises by standardizing processes to assure consistency within the workplace, healthcare has been slower to adopt standardization2. And while there are always variations between patients and their health-related challenges, creating consistency in management and treatment will better prepare us in facing those challenges in a way that is beneficial to everyone involved.

Standardization in skin health

When it comes to skin health, standardization is extremely important because creating consistency can help to prevent the development of healthcare acquired pressure injuries. By standardizing the way we identify risks and provide preventative care, we’ll be more equipped to tackle challenges before they become bigger problems.

Identification, assessment, procedure, communication and responsibility are all crucial factors to keep consistent if we want to progress in providing optimal skin care. But consistency is only one piece of the puzzle. Implementing measures based on best practices helps increase the quality of care provided, thus improving outcomes.

Standardization is a team effort, however3. While institutions and facilities can establish guidelines to implement best practices, it takes responsibility and effort on behalf of everyone involved to make sure those standards are met.

Standardizing products

While standardization in process is key to ensuring best outcomes, product standardization is equally as important. By utilizing common products, skin health practitioners are able to provide more consistent care from prevention to treatment, helping improve safety, efficiency, and cost control.

It’s also a good idea to partner with a product vendor who understands and values skin health. Someone with the expertise to help your facility standardize evidence-based best practices and product usage. Look for a supply partner with trained clinicians on staff. This is a great way to expand your team’s knowledge and build their confidence in skin and wound care–consistently.

4 tips to help get you get started.

  • Designate skin champions to help prioritize skin health, engage and motivate your team.
  • Limit the number of vendors that provide products to promote consistency, efficiency and cost savings.
  • Continuously support and educate clinicians on evidence-based best practices.
  • Create wound care guidelines to help build staff confidence and improve outcomes.

References:

  1. Hall, Robert W. Continuous Improvement Through Standardization. Essentials of Excellence, www.ame.org/sites/default/files/target_articles/86q2a1.pdf.
  2. Hanscom, Robert, et al. “Variation in Healthcare Delivery: The Need for Standardization. The World of Healthcare Is Exceedingly Complex. In Particular, Variation in the Delivery of Healthcare Is a Fundamental Concern with the Lack of Standardization Directly Affecting the Ability to Ensure Safe Care. While This Problem Is Often Acknowledged, Not Enough Has Been Done to Solve It.” Becker’s Hospital Review, www.beckershospitalreview.com/healthcare-information-technology/variation-in-healthcare-delivery-the-need-for-standardization.html.
  3. HealthManagement.org. “Raising Care Standards to Enhance Patient Outcomes.” HealthManagement, 21 Mar. 2017, healthmanagement.org/c/hospital/whitepaper/raising-care-standards-to-enhance-patient-outcomes.