Fear of the Unknown in Accreditation
We all have it. We all worry needlessly because of it. It can sometimes paralyze us. It's fear of the unknown.
In this case, it's fear of the walk-through part of the accreditation process. The part I have been dreading since the day I was hired: having some stranger physician walk through this lab that I love so much, examine every little detail and then decide if we will pass their standards.
I have been through similar processes before when I worked in the hospital. The month of panic leading up to the week of sheer terror when the JACHO inspector came to inspect the hospital. Always wondering if you or your department will fall under the eyes of the inspector. Memorizing the topic of the year so you can answer any question the inspector might ask you. By the time the week happens, you just wish you had enough vacation time that you could avoid the hospital for the week.
My dread was this only ten times worse because I am the one who wrote the policies and procedure, I am the one who filled out the application, and I am the one who will have to answer to the owner and to the AASM if I do not pass our accreditation.
I have had every possible scenario run through my head: everything that could possibly go wrong, every question that possibly could be asked. Every negative thought I have looked at, examined, and planted in my head.
So what did happen?
The whole experience was really nothing like what I thought it would be.
The person who came to inspect the lab was great. I learned so much from him. The changes he asked me to make in the policies and procedures really made sense. He did not ask for any big changes, just wording changes and procedure changes that would help streamline the lab. He gave us ideas in areas to grow the lab as well.
Several of the labs in our area were being inspected at the same time so all the managers were gave each other a hand meeting some of the requirements. It allowed us to change from competition to community. This is something I see as a strong positive experience.
In the end, the fear that I created in my own head over the last months and year was for nothing. It might have made me a little more meticulous in my writing but it did not change the outcome of the inspection. All it did was cause me many sleepless nights.
Oh and by the way, I still have no idea if I have passed the inspection. I am told they will let me know after they have reviewed the inspector's report. As of this writing I am still holding my breath, but I am not worrying because it will not change a thing. Eventually my lab will become accredited.