As we move into an era where customers have more information readily available to them regarding healthcare services and providers, and thus, more choices about where they seek medical care, hospitals will need to be more conscientious of how they are perceived in the marketplace if they want to be competitive.
One area that can impact how a hospital ranks among consumers is the perception of cleanliness. While the work of the environmental services staff is vital to helping prevent the spread of disease, how that work is performed can also make a difference in how the hospital is viewed by patients and visitors. Cleanliness delivered by a helpful and pleasant EVS staff can help promote satisfaction among consumers and distinguish the hospital from its competition, according to an article in Health Facilities Management.
Cleanliness can be measured in a variety of ways by EVS supervisors. The article lists three ways to monitor cleaning results. The first, measuring a cleaning technician’s work by simple visual observation, is quick and easy, but can also be inconsistent due to its subjective nature, the article says.
Two more objective systems can also aid supervisors in monitoring. The ATP system takes a swab from a surface and inserts it in a monitoring device to measure the relative light units found on the swab. Another system requires a supervisor to make a mark with invisible fluorescent gel in the room to be cleaned, and check afterward with an ultraviolet light to see if the mark has been removed.
Aside from measurable results, however, EVS staff can improve a hospital’s reputation simply by interacting pleasantly with patients and explaining what they are doing and why it is important, the article says. Patient satisfaction surveys, administered after a hospital admission, ask about the cleanliness of the room. A polite conversation with a cleaning technician may leave a good impression and influence patients’ survey answers.