Managing the complexities of changing healthcare regulations has become more challenging than ever before. As many organisations have experienced over the past two years, requirements can change weekly or even daily, with non-compliance resulting in fines of $8k for individuals, $40k for each facility, and up to $1m for providers.
The requirement of double vaccination or an exemption is now standard to be able to visit or work in most healthcare settings, and we anticipate boosters will become mandatory soon. Furthermore, governments across some states have already announced that staff and visitors need to report a negative RAT/PCR test before entering a facility and keep records for audit purposes.
The sector is still heavily reliant on paper for recording, sharing and storing information. This is becoming unsustainable due to how quickly healthcare regulations change. Prone to inaccuracies, this presents both a huge financial risk and worse still, adverse impacts quality of care for residents and patients, with the manual burden taking staff away from time they could be providing essential care.
This is time that can’t be afforded, as staff shortages further wreak havoc in the industry, with almost 90% of Aged Care facilities experiencing shortages in their labour force.
Key healthcare regulations to meet for compliance
There are three key areas of regulations that healthcare organisations need to ensure they are compliant with:
- Evidence Collection – including reporting for RAT/PCR, vaccination, health screening & attestation questions
- Visitor Management – delivering a seamless, digital process to manage changing restrictions around visitation in healthcare setting
- Contact tracing – quickly tracking and isolating known COVID cases to mitigate outbreak risks and providing audit trails for any future compliance checks
The importance of having a robust evidence collection and health screening process is essential to mitigating risk from sites where patients are most vulnerable. As we have seen during this recent outbreak, shortages of ideal health-screening tools like RAT/PCR testing and PPE equipment put original plans at risk making multiple screening methods critical.
Solutions should focus on the collection of all evidence types including RAT, PCR tests & vaccination status with methods to ensure their validity. In addition, the solution must identify potential risk on site through up to date health screen questionnaires, contactless temperature checking, and where possible real-time monitoring of facilities.
State by state, the restrictions around the number of visitors & length of time for visitation is constantly changing depending on the stage of the pandemic and local outbreaks. This has led to staff spending hours daily on completing administrative tasks to check in visitors, review documentation as well as manually managing a variety of ever-changing healthcare regulations.
Creating a seamless check-in and visitor management process frees up staff to focus on providing quality and care to patients which should be their primary focus. A digital-first solution would also ensure compliance to current healthcare regulations and improve the overall experience for visitors.
Critically, this also enables visitation to continue during this time, balancing the safety and mental wellbeing of patients and residents when they need it most. At present, there are over 1,000 aged care facilities reporting an outbreak which leads to some form of lockdown.
As the current Omicron outbreak spreads across Australia, hospitals are already stretched to breaking point. Staff shortages, due to contracting the virus or isolating as a close contact, are compounding the problem. In Queensland, 1 in 20 healthcare workers are off work, and it is a similar story across the rest of the country. As states cut the time and isolation restrictions for frontline staff, the ability to effectively trace any known covid contacts across these settings is critical to ensuring safety of patients and residents.
As we’ve seen in the past year, failure to do this can subject facilities to prolonged lockdowns, with dire scenarios of residents being in their rooms for weeks on end.
Simplifying the compliance process to free up time for caring
Built for the present and future of healthcare, Zipline digitises the complexities of compliance, reporting and visitor management. As a result, saving healthcare providers an average of $4 for each dollar spent, or two less staff per site.
Zipline’s healthcare compliance platform includes:
- PCR/RAT and vaccination evidence approval & collection: validated with AI, the ability to capture and store test results across RAT/PCR tests and vaccination status, plus remote approval of documentation
- End-to-end visitor management & medical grade health screenings: streamlines experience across screening including our medical grade health temperature scans, check-in, in-time facility management, post-visit tracking and reporting dashboards for contact tracing and audit trails
- Compliance promise: A dedicated team to monitor the changing state and federal healthcare regulations, and automate the required changes to ensure 100% compliance with new restrictions
With Zipline, healthcare providers such as St. John of God, Calvary and St. Vincents are spending less time on compliance and more time providing quality care for our most vulnerable. With integrated implementation taking 6 weeks, your healthcare site can be optimised in just over a month.