The Business Unit Gom Zorg serves approximately 125 healthcare organizations in the Netherlands, often with multiple locations. Gom Zorg uses Checkbuster for their healthcare inspections and audits. We spoke to Marieke Steltenpool, who is responsible for cleaning within large healthcare institutions and asked her about cleaning in healthcare settings and the differences between the business units.
Marieke: “The difference with cleaning in healthcare and, for example, schools and offices, is that in the healthcare environment you clearly must deal with safety and risks for employees, which means that they can also be there for your patients. Healthcare sets specific requirements for cleaning like no other. In hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare institutions, ‘clean’ is primarily synonymous with ‘hygienic’. Hygiene that is often bound by rules and guidelines. Infection prevention is paramount. Our customers are looking for quality assurance and their process. As a healthcare institution, you therefore want a partner with expertise in care, cure and pharmacy. With Gom Zorg we try to give substance to this as well as possible.”
Cleaning in healthcare has specific procedures and protocols and imposes strict requirements on the approach and employees. It is therefore not an activity that is separate from others but is an essential part of the entire care process.
Marieke explains: “As Gom Zorg we often function as an extension of the organization of our clients. Our employees therefore feel part of the team on location. We train them ourselves, so they know how to work and what requirements the Health Care Inspectorate sets. In addition, we focus on the empathy to work in an environment in which care is central. I personally think it is nice to visit our people and see how we improve the work processes together with the customer.”
From paper to digital solution
Gom Zorg has been working with Checkbuster’s inspection software for five years, which helps them to plan and safeguard the entire cleaning and audit process.
Marieke: “We used to do everything on paper. Check-and-mark lists that disappeared in folders and adding photos was very difficult at the time. And then you had all the folders on a shelf and in cupboards. If a customer was visited by the Health Care Inspectorate and asked us to supply it, you always had to go through those folders and then deliver it to the customer. Now I have everything on my iPad. This contains all templates, inspections and reports. When I perform an audit, I can take and quickly add photos that are immediately in the report and I capture issues and assign points for improvement to colleagues who receive a report and can immediately address it. That is ideal, also for the customer. n this way, the customer has insight into the entire process and sees that this is well secured.
Focus on people
Because the audits and inspections at Gom are now going digital, Marieke has more time to focus on people.
“I enjoy working with people. When you do an audit, there’s often a hint of, ‘Oh, are we doing it right?’ But of course I never go there with the intention of blowing them off. What I really like is to talk to people. If I see certain areas for improvement and then, together with the team on site, make sure that it is put in order. This could be materials that need to be replaced, for example, or cleaning agents that do not have the desired effect. Now that the audit process with Checkbuster is running much better, I can manage it more and coordinate with the team on site to plan and guide instructions. The goal is to reach a higher level with the customer.
Awareness in healthcare
“I think that since two years we have all become much more aware of compliance with protocols. Those protocols used to be there, but an Infection Prevention expert was sometimes crying in the desert. That has really changed. There is more awareness and attention for this. And if that costs money, that is also reserved. I do think that we can work even ‘greener’ in healthcare. For example, with reusable materials. A lot is still being removed and thrown away. You already see more green ORs in hospitals and that they are more concerned with reusable materials. And what we have to look at in relation to the environment is: Do we burden that environment with disinfectants? What responsible disinfection are there to burden the environment as little as possible and are they safe for our people? That’s going to take off.
Safe working environment
For our audits and inspections, we now do this digitally, so we have, fortunately, lost all that paperwork. In addition, we must always ensure that we continue to work hygienically and keep up with the times. Cleaning itself is not that innovative, but we always look for good materials and whether we work in the right way. Do our people know ergonomically, do they have the right working posture? How do we all stay healthy, because we have to keep working longer and longer.
Our people are all trained, know how to move, mop, wipe and mop etc. But do they still do it the right way over time? I have added items for this in my template in Checkbuster so that during the audit I ask the employee to pick up something. I look at the use of resources and materials in the right way. In the past you looked at whether something was clean and not so much how cleaning was done. With Checkbuster we look at: Yes it must be clean, but do we offer all conditions that ensure that employees do their work in the right way, do they do it safely and do they also know that if a fire breaks out, where the nearest emergency exit and that they don’t have to take the elevator? In other words, do I provide a safe work environment? That is important to me.”
Gom is a cleaning company with approximately 8,000 employees with a special intention: to make people happy with cleaning. They do this in different sectors. From healthcare and hospitality to offices, schools and more.