March 27, 2014
Dennis Gastineau, MD, Vice-President of the FACT Board of Directors and Chair of the FACT Education Committee, recently performed a FACT inspection using the new online FACTWeb accreditation portal. He shares his experience and offers his advice to help other inspectors prepare for the new system.
Before the inspection, Dr. Gastineau and his inspection team viewed an online demonstration of FACTWeb. This session lasted about 45 minutes after which he felt reasonably comfortable with the system. Other educational sessions (such as webinar recordings and the FACTWeb Inspector Guide) provide necessary background information.
Dr. Gastineau found that the structure of web-based documentation makes it much easier to associate the documents with the particular standard. Immediate access to the Standards and guidance information was one of the biggest differences between the paper-based inspection process and the electronic process. The other big difference was the time it took to complete the inspection report. Dr. Gastineau’s report was almost completed upon leaving the program. Beyond that, he spent less than 15 minutes putting together the rest of the report. He estimates the effort to write the inspection report decreased by 85 percent.
Taking notes during the inspection day is important to recall important findings when generating the inspection reports. Dr. Gastineau primarily entered notes directly into the system except when touring the facilities, which makes it more difficult to type into the system. Another inspector made handwritten notes and then entered them into the system after the inspection. At one point, he did become confused about what type of note he was entering. Inspectors may write two kinds of notes: Review Notes which are general observations or reminders to themselves or to applicants, and Inspection Notes which are citations or suggestions that are automatically included in the inspection report. He also found that having two screens active helps. He brought his laptop and his iPad and this reduced the need to toggle back and forth.
He recommends that inspectors use the electronic checklist throughout the day because it makes it easier to complete the report and allows immediate access to guidance information. Reviewing the answers to each of the compliance questions and entering notes in the system prior to arriving on site will minimize the need to take manual notes throughout the inspection day.
As Education Chair, Dr. Gastineau acknowledges that it is natural to be nervous about using the system for the first time. He assures everyone that his first experience was very good – response times were quick and the electronic web-based system did not add time to the inspection day.