April 2021 saw new National Standards of Healthcare Cleanliness introduced in England with the aim of improving the quality of cleaning services within hospitals and thereby also enhancing the patient experience, improving outcomes and increasing efficiency.
Associated categories of risk have been expanded, and this means Trusts need to deploy more robust auditing processes to ensure they can demonstrate they are meeting the new standards, which also require cleanliness star ratings to be displayed throughout hospitals. Trusts were given a 12 month timeframe to implement these new standards, and one hospital has made sure it’s ahead of the curve.
Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust has been an early adopter of the National Cleaning Standards, and has been working closely with specialist software development company GV Healthcare to help develop MyAudit, a new auditing tool, designed to not just help them improve their cleanliness auditing process, but also provide a blueprint for other Trusts to meet the new standards.
Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust said: “The new standards not only require a more intensive cleaning regime, but also accurate data that evidences required standards and frequencies have been met. Our existing software didn’t make it easy for us to do this, and so we looked to the marketplace to explore our options.
"We identified solutions that could meet some of our needs, but none that could address them all, and we also wanted a product that we could tailor to our specific requirements, and one that could evolve over time.
"We were aware of GV Healthcare because of its innovative MyPorter software, and agreed to collaborate with them on the creation of an auditing tool that would be both fit for purpose and fit for the future.”
The new software follows CQC guidelines, and takes account of how often particular audits need to take place, prepopulating the system over twelve months to aid resource planning in line with the new functional risk categories. Taking individual Trusts’ cleaning schedules, MyAudit can automatically allocate audits over the year ahead, helping to ensure compliance.
Managers can adjust the dashboard according to the required visibility level, viewing today’s to do list, the current week and future weeks to aid resource planning. The software also provides a countdown to alert ahead of breaches of audit, enabling corrective action to be taken.
The system provides guidance for staff to make it clear which elements need to be audited in a given area, and provides an easy to use checklist to assign each element as pass, fail or pass with rectification. Elements in need of rectification can be photographed and sent to the relevant department using the system, together with a target for completion.
MyAudit also features a Kanban dashboard, providing a real time overview of audits due, status of audits, completed audits and outstanding rectifications, providing managers with full audit service status at a glance.
In addition to short term management and notifications, MyAudit enables trend analysis, making it easy to identify areas where cleanliness is declining or improving, and pinpoint recurring issues, enabling them to be addressed and support the continuous improvement of services.
MyAudit’s reporting functionality also makes it easy to create and issue monthly reports and technical score sheets in line with Trust and CQC requirements, and Red, Amber, Green (RAG) reports to ensure progress and targets are being met. These can be automatically emailed to specified colleagues within the Trust.
Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust added: “We were delighted to work with GV Healthcare to create an auditing tool to meet the new National Standards of Healthcare Cleanliness 2021, allowing not just our Trust to benefit, but many other NHS healthcare organisations across the country too.
"To enable Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust to drive and deliver improvements set out in the new standards with continuity to achieve them, MyAudit offers our Trust a future-proof, innovative and flexible digital system, demonstrating safe standards and high levels of cleanliness are being met. The MyAudit tool provides and emphasises assurance, compliance, traceability and trend analysis supporting the Facilities team to encourage and develop continuous improvement within our service”.
Richard Iveson at GV Healthcare said: “All of our solutions have been developed following intensive collaboration with Trusts to ensure the people who use the software are the ones who help to shape its design.
"We have built upon our experience of creating other innovative software for Trusts such as MyPorter, and worked in conjunction with clinical professionals to harness their knowledge and expertise to build upon our offer to deliver improvements in healthcare cleaning.
"Our approach is one of long-term collaboration, to ensure our solutions are not one size fits all, static software, but ongoing partnerships that strive for continuous improvement and are agile in a changing healthcare environment.”
If you’d like to find out more about MyAudit, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust will be hosting a round of virtual open days to demonstrate the system and answer any questions.