To make a mock survey successful, plan ahead and execute carefully, says Patrick Horine, chief executive officer at DNV GL Healthcare, in Milford, OH, which offers hospital accreditation.

  • Make a specific plan that includes what issues will be addressed, what units will be surveyed, who will conduct the survey, and a schedule.
  • Decide whether the survey will be wide and shallow, or narrow and deep.
  • Be thorough. This is a time to address any concerns.
  • Make it real. Challenge people. Do not let them off the hook easily. But make it clear that it is better to say “I don’t know” now than during a real survey.
  • Involve several people in the process. This is not a job for one person. It will be a challenge. However, once staff see how it works, administrators might need a lottery to select participants due to so much interest.
  • Create talking points and plan questions, but staff responses should go beyond yes or no answers.
  • Study policies and procedures in advance.
  • Mock surveyors should not audit areas in which they work or with which they are familiar.
  • The surveyor should be able to answer the questions as well as the staff member, and the surveyor should not have authority or bias to influence the response.
  • After the survey is over, follow through to ensure actions are addressed and there is some accountability to sustain improvements.