Flu season is just around the corner, and if you haven’t already put together a plan for influenza prevention and control in your healthcare workplace, now is the time to get started.
While we don’t often think about the flu in the summer, when you work in healthcare, you know that preparation and prevention are essential in keeping your staff healthy and maintaining compliance. And with flu season expected to ramp up in August this year, the race is on to get your entire staff vaccinated—and to ensure that everyone is up to date on company policies around the flu vaccine.
Internally, now is also the time to ensure that you have a system in place for tracking employee health data related to the flu vaccine. This includes accurate, real-time vaccine tracking that covers who has gotten the vaccine, who still needs it, and who is exempt for medical or religious reasons.
It’s a lot to manage, with serious penalties for failing to maintain mandated compliance percentages. Here’s what to know so that you can be prepared and take action toward widespread influenza prevention.
The Importance of Flu Vaccine Compliance
In terms of flu vaccine education, nursing staff leaders have more to worry about than just general office practices for illness prevention.
The flu vaccine is one of the most effective tools that we have for keeping staff and patients safe during the yearly flu season and is recommended by the CDC for healthcare professionals working in clinical or home care settings. And in many states, medical facilities are required to offer the flu vaccine to their staff, document compliance data, and report that data to the state.
In states with mandatory flu vaccine reporting requirements, medical facilities are graded on their compliance percentages and can get penalized for failing to achieve required vaccination levels. Depending on the size of a facility, these penalties can get incredibly costly, especially after you factor in the money already spent on compliance-related administrative costs.
The best way to maintain flu vaccine compliance and avoid fines? Make it as easy as possible for your facility to track employee health. With the right tracking tools, you won’t have to wonder how your compliance percentages are stacking up. You’ll also have ready-to-go documents for state-mandated reporting.
Benefits of Infection Control Software During Flu Season
Fortunately for today’s employee health leaders, tracking flu vaccine compliance is much easier than it used to be, thanks to innovations in employee health tracking software.
Whereas facilities used to have to rely on paper, spreadsheets, and emails to manage vaccination rate data (a near-impossible task for hospitals and other clinical settings with hundreds or thousands of employees), new technology now allows for streamlined management of employee electronic health records. For flu season, this means more efficiency in tracking staff vaccination status and the ability to see at a glance who is exempt from vaccination and why.
Cloud-based vaccine tracking software spreads accountability across your organization, so in addition to more accurate reporting, you also save time on data aggregation and reduce the risk of error. Employees can self-report vaccine status on their own, while admins can benefit from functionalities like automatic reminders and staff-wide email notifications, automatic government-mandated reports, and quick access to updated compliance requirements. And ultimately, tracking software can increase your rate of compliance by 40% or more, which is no small feat during flu season.
Additional benefits include:
- Electronic data capturing
- WiFi and cellular access from any location
- Increased labor productivity, particularly for administrative staff
- Group health insurance savings
- Safer data storage and reduced risk of a data breach
- Higher patient safety health standards
You can’t avoid flu season at your medical facility, but you can ensure that as much of your staff as possible is vaccinated and doing their part to prevent the spread of the virus. If you’re ready to simplify your vaccine tracking processes and get a leg up on the upcoming flu season, we invite you to learn more about Immuware vaccine tracking software and try out a free demo for your organization.