8 Keys to a Successful AAAHC SurveyAt the 19th annual Ambulatory Surgery Centers Conference in Chicago on Oct. 26, Gina Dolsen, RN, BSN, MA, vice president of operations for Blue Chip Surgical Center Partners and an Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care surveyor, provided eight tips to help ASCs ace their AAAHC survey.
1. Focus. For ambulatory service centers going through the survey for the first time, the obvious focus is to gain accreditation. However, for centers that are already accredited, Ms. Dolsen said to make the survey work in the ASC's favor. She recommended driving the surveyors to where the center needs help and to use the AAAHC to the center's advantage. "A survey can be to your benefit; it doesn't have to mean your demise," Ms. Dolsen said.
Additionally, Ms. Dolsen said that ASCs should focus on topics that have been in the news leading up to the survey date. "If it has been in the news, it will be on the survey," she said.
2. Investigate. ASC leaders should make sure the staff's practices agree with written policy. Ms. Dolsen said that many times, practices have evolved and the policy was never updated, which then means that the center is not compliant with its own policy. She recommended giving the ASC's staff the clinical record worksheet from the back of the AAAHC book and using it as an educational tool to help them get ready for the survey.
3. Design. Ms. Dolsen said ASCs should create an action plan on a timeline to ensure they are ready for the survey in advance.
4. Integrate. There are a lot of connecting pieces in an AAAHC survey that need to be pulled together, according to Ms. Dolsen, so she said it is important to gather the data early and look for overlapping standards in the survey. She recommended that ASCs take a close look at chapter two in the AAAHC book, because that chapter has standards that often overlap elsewhere in the survey.
5. Collaborate. Ms. Dolsen recommended getting the whole center's staff involved in the survey process, especially physicians. She also said to encourage the board to show up on the day of the survey.
6. Inspire. Motivating the staff is key, according to Ms. Dolsen. She also said that ASC leaders should set a good example by not "freaking out" about the survey, and then other staff members will follow suit.
7. Engage. Ms. Dolsen said it is very difficult to get prepared for an AAAHC survey in just six months, so it is important for the ASC staff to live the survey standards every day.
8. Enrich. AAAHC-accredited ASCs are a part of more than 4,500 centers, according to Ms. Dolsen. The AAACH board and committees examine every issue related to ASCs and strive to keep its centers up-to-date so they can all provide quality care.
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