Let’s face it; preparing for a regulatory survey isn’t on anyone’s list of things they love to do.
The visceral reaction you experience when you learn that The Joint Commission will be on site in a few weeks is normal. Breathe. You’ve got this.
As a professional, you know that the kinds of people who are most valuable to you are the ones that make your job easier, not harder. So in that vein, we encourage you to do just that for your surveyor. Because to truly set your organization up for success during your regulatory survey, you must set your surveyor up for success. Here are a few pointers:
Prepare the documentation they’ll need in advance
You don’t want to be shuffling for documentation while your surveyor is on site, so the first thing to do is review the list of required documentation from your accrediting body beforehand. The Joint Commission has a of both required and optional documentation for each accreditation program. It’s likely the surveyors will prefer the documents in electronic format so that they’re not bombarded with stacks of paperwork (some with personally identifiable information), but it’s a good idea to make sure they’re easily retrievable for print in case your surveyor requests a hard copy.
Start off on the right foot
Prepare your staff for the on-site visit. From your front-desk receptionists to the leadership of the organization, everyone should be ready to put their best foot forward when the surveyors arrive. Educate your staff on how to recognize surveyors (they’ll be wearing identification badges) and how to appropriately engage with them.
Assign a point person (or a point team)
Knowing who to talk to is crucial for surveyors, so make it easy for them to identify their main point of contact, facility escorts, and any others that may be representing each department or program (hospital, home care, long term care, etc.). Make sure your surveyor knows the best way to get in contact with each person (provide numbers and emails) and be sure that your points of contact are able to make themselves available to the surveyor during the visit.
Make your guests comfortable
Hosting surveyors is, in fact, very similar to when you have guests coming in to stay in your home. Give them what they’ll need to do their jobs efficiently: a comfortable place to call home base, reliable phone and internet, ample electrical outlets, plenty of desk space, plenty of light, and access to simple refreshments like water, juices, and light snacks like fruits and nuts. Lastly, it goes without saying, but make sure their staging area is spotless; dust bunnies are a red flag for sanitation issues elsewhere.
Don’t make them an offer they have to refuse
Wining and dining surveyors is a big no-no, so just don’t ask. Even something as innocuous as a professional lunch to get out of the office could be considered influential to the evaluation process. Many surveyors will take measures to maintain appropriate boundaries themselves, like packing a lunch if they’re on-site during lunch hours, but the best rule of thumb is to not put your surveyors in a position to have to say “no.” Don’t worry, it’s not rude. It’s just the nature of the beast.
And the best advice… run a tight, compliant organization year-round. That really is the simplest way to make surveyors’ jobs as easy as possible.
What else do you do to make sure to start your survey off on the right foot? Let us know in the comment section below!