Over the past week two articles have stuck out in my mind. The first story, "Germany backtracks on sprouts for E. coli source" and the next story on "Staph infection outbreak in newborn ICU at Alaska Hospital" had a lot in common. They made me think about the tracer methodology used by The Joint Commission and how important it is. Granted, one story deals with a hospital and the other about a farm, but both have a common thread; "traceability of the process". To find out what was causing the concerns, people had to go back and try to put the pieces back together on what took place.The stories point out the importance of being able to trace through the documents of history for what has been done. It only supports why we must document information that is relevant and be able to trace it back if there is an issue. Back in the day (the early 1990's) I worked for a major hospital in Detroit. My CEO was a person named Gail Warden. He was quoted as saying "Most people ought to be getting the message that there is going to be a requirement that performance be measured and outcomes be measured and wemight as well face up to it". The quote, in general, deals with performance documentation, but at the core of the quote, Gail is telling us back in 1994, more documentation is coming and we better get ready for it. As we can see from these two stories, documentation has played a key role in finding out what took place and it will hopefully be used to help prevent these types of occurrences again in the future.


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