Five Tips for survey from the Beach

Five Tips for Survey Success from the Beach

As the weather finally warms up and the country begins to open from the COVID-19 pandemic, our thoughts shift to summertime and the beach.  As a consultant pharmacist, I am always working to help my facilities improve patient safety and achieve survey success.  Here are five easy things you can do while sitting at the beach!

  1. Update your Malignant Hyperthermia poster: Don’t forget our friends at the Malignant Hyperthermia Association of the United States (MHAUS).  They are doing great work and providing invaluable resources.  Managing MH successfully starts with following the guidance they provide and by ensuring your cart contents are up to date.  Having all the necessary supplies is the first step, but knowing how to use them is just as important.  One of the key elements for increasing patient safety and achieving survey success, is having an up to date MH Poster.  The Emergency Therapy for Malignant Hyperthermia Poster can be ordered online while you listen to the sound of the waves.
  2. Update your Look-Alike-Sound-Alike list:  These medications require special safeguards to reduce the risk of errors and avoid patient harm. A consultant pharmacist can help to make sure you’ve established, and are following, best practices. Some tips? Post your organization’s ‘Look-Alike-Sound-Alike’ list for all staff members to see and refer to, and make sure the list is specific to the medications currently used at your facility. If formulary changes are made, the list should be updated too. You can develop your list based on the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) List of Confused Drug Names. Consider any updates to your facility’s list while sipping on your favorite beverage soaking up the sun.
  3. Get the USP 800 App:  The <800> HazRx phone app is a great tool to have and one you can easily download and use while sitting in the shade.  The app allows you to identify hazardous drugs, information on how to safely handle them, monthly updates and allows you to know your exposure to hazardous drugs.  As we all know, hazardous drugs pose potential short-term and long-term risks.  You can take a big step in protecting yourself, your staff, and your patients by simply downloading and using the app.
  4. Education:  While it’s harder to educate from the beach, it’s a perfect spot to let your mind wander and brainstorm a list of educational offerings your staff would find useful.  You don’t need to complete an in-service with continuing education credits, but you can develop a list of topics that would improve staff competence.  This is helpful in so many ways.  Not only does it make staff more prepared, it provides additional evidence to surveyors that ongoing education is occurring.  Additionally, education always improves your odds of providing safe care and achieving good outcomes.  Nothing enhances survey success like patient safety and good outcomes.
  5. Review your benchmarking: This may seem like the least exciting thing to do at the beach, but it’s simple and can be very productive.  Because benchmarking is a process with many moving parts, ambulatory facilities are shifting toward using the services of an outside consultant pharmacist to achieve compliance and/or to ensure that policies and procedures are fully implemented to improve patient care. Working with an expert consultant pharmacist is a powerful way for ambulatory facilities to achieve comprehensive benchmarking studies (especially as not all pharmacists have the capability to assist with the process).  If you already have solid benchmarking data, take some time to review it and compare how your facility is doing relative to your peers on key elements of performance.  One study we provide is a financial benchmark, which allows facilities to see the relative costs of some of the most common medications used.  Take a few minutes to review these numbers and you could end up finding significant savings.  In the process, you’re also improving your odds of a good survey.

Summertime is traditionally a slower time for most businesses.  It’s also a common time for people to take time off and head to the beach or sit poolside.  Although we don’t want to spend our free time working, most of us spend a lot of free time on our phones.  The items discussed above can be done quickly on your phone, will hardly feel like work and could make things easier when you return from vacation.  Whether you’re at the beach or at work, don’t hesitate to reach out for additional guidance.  We consult with our clients in many locations but one of our favorite spots is at the beach!

The Consultant Pharmacists at OctariusRx provide guidance on safe medication management, survey readiness and cost savings to ambulatory healthcare facilities/surgery centers, senior care facilities and pharmacies We also help individual patients optimize their medications to improve their quality of life and save money. Contact us for assistance.


Any health, medical or drug information on the Web Site is for informational purposes only. This information is not intended to be used, and you should not use it, as a substitute for obtaining professional healthcare advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor, a pharmacist or other qualified healthcare provider for professional healthcare advice, diagnosis or treatment for any medical condition.