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Within this page, you will find Industry Perspective blogs written by the UCA Corporate Support Partners (CSP); Insights from UCA CEO Laurel Stoimenoff, PT, CHC; Practice Management blogs to help you better manage center operations; and bonus UCA education in Educational Insights.

INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVES: Six Identifiable Benefits of an Effective EVS Team

Posted: Nov 15, 2018
Comments: 0

By Steve Zimmerman with ServiceMaster Clean

Pathogens come through the doors at urgent care facilities all the time.  Consider these statistics from UCA’s 2017 Benchmarking Report:

  • UC centers receive an average of three patients per hour, about 50 per day.
  • The top diagnosis codes are acute respiratory infection, acute sinusitis, acute pharyngitis, cough and fever.

Beyond the exposure to germs, urgent care clinics get dirty.  Patients, staff and visitors track in dirt, leave smudges (and germs) on hard surfaces, create trash including biohazard materials, and generally clutter up the place.  It is an everyday, ongoing task to clean and disinfect UC centers, not only to keep them tidy, but more importantly to prevent the spread of infection.

While some urgent care centers have their own environmental services (EVS) staff, many UCs outsource EVS to cleaning services.  Outsourcing to a professional healthcare cleaning service is an effective way for UCs to accomplish the necessary day-to-day cleaning tasks and protect their patients from infection.  Outsourcing also helps free clinical and clerical staff to focus on patient healing.

For facility owners and managers who outsource this function, the question is, how is your EVS vendor performing?  Is your clinic clean, orderly and attractive?  Are pathogen levels well-controlled or is there a danger of infection for patients and staff?  These are very important questions for two reasons:  EVS plays a vital role in protecting patients from infection, and patient satisfaction is partially determined by the cleanliness of the facility.

The decision to hire EVS versus outsourcing may not be yours.  Multifacility UC companies often make this decision at the corporate level, but some urgent care centers make their own choice.  If you are responsible for clinic cleanliness and infection prevention, here are six indicators to consider when evaluating your EVS staff to determine whether or not they provide effective service.

  • Infection prevention.  This is the top priority for every environmental service technician, whether in-house or a contracted provider.  Your clinic’s most important mission is healing, and EVS plays an important role in preventing the spread of infection and disease.  EVS staff must be well-trained in the proper use of EPA-approved disinfectants, knowledgeable of Safety Data Sheets, and aware of infection-control protocol.  When it comes to infection prevention, failure is not an option.
  • Patient satisfaction.  Are patients pleased with their experience at your clinic?  Does it pass the “eye test” for visitors?  A clean, attractive facility helps create a pleasant – and safe – environment for patients.  If you are unsure about your patients’ level of satisfaction, then some consumer research may be necessary.
  • Morale.  Morale improves when all departments work cohesively. When EVS performs at a consistently high level, it makes life easier for clinical and administrative personnel.  This promotes camaraderie and confidence throughout the clinic.
  • Patient interaction.  EVS staff will inevitably have some interaction with patients, and when they do, they are seen as part of YOUR staff.  Do they represent your clinic in a friendly, professional manner?  A well-trained staff will interact pleasantly and easily with patients and guests.
  • Efficiency and effectiveness.  Getting work done well is great.  Getting it done efficiently and effectively is better.  Well-trained EVS personnel will perform cleaning tasks more thoroughly and often in less time than poorly trained personnel.  They also will respond to problems quickly.
  • Profitability.  EVS is only one component of your clinic’s business model, but it has an impact on all the others.  A properly cleaned, sanitized, and disinfected facility helps promote patient satisfaction, reduces liability, and helps the clinical staff achieve the overarching mission of treating patients.  The impact of EVS on profitability is a long-term equation, but without an effective, efficient EVS team, your clinic may struggle to be profitable.

Environmental services is a vital component of a successful urgent care clinic.  Poor EVS performance can have a negative impact on the entire business and can jeopardize the well-being of patients.  A good UC business model begins with a foundation of cleanliness.  Evaluate the performance of your EVS team and make sure they are providing the level of excellence you need.

Steve Zimmerman, MBA, CHESP, T-CSCT.  Steve is Director of Healthcare Services for ServiceMaster Clean, one of the nation’s leading providers of professional healthcare cleaning services.  He was formerly director of Environmental Services for a nationally renowned children’s hospital in Memphis, Tenn., recognized for six consecutive years by U.S. News and World Report as one of the best children’s hospitals in the nation.  Under his leadership, the hospital’s environmental services department won numerous awards and achieved very high patient satisfaction scores.


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