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After Accreditation: How Does the Process Improve ASCs?

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While the initial accreditation process may involve changes in workflow, accreditation readiness becomes integrated into the fabric of compliant ASCs in a way that has many potential benefits to the center, according to Michael Kulczycki, MBA, CAE, executive director of The Joint Commission's Ambulatory Care Accreditation Program. Here are some of the ways ASCs stand to benefit from pursuing and maintaining accreditation.

1. More patients are beginning to check for accreditation. Mr. Kulczycki says that Consumer Reports has run pieces on why patients should care about accreditation at healthcare facilities. This kind of burgeoning awareness of compliance with third-party evaluation via an onsite survey is something on which ASCs may not want to miss out.

2. It becomes a beneficial routine. "We do hear from some customers that accreditation can bring frameworks, standardization and efficiencies that can lead to smarter ways of doing things," says Mr. Kulczycki.

3. Surveyors have seen it all. At The Joint Commission Mr. Kulczycki says its employee surveyors see between 25 and 100 organizations each year. "They often see problems they've seen somewhere else, and they also see solutions they can share," he adds. "We once had a surveyor at an ASC in a leased space with an odd back emergency entrance that couldn't fit a gurney. They fire department fined them, and the ASC was considering building modifications that would have cost between $40,000 and $50,000. But the surveyor had seen an articulating gurney that could move around corners at another center. That solution cost $4,000. It's not directly integral to standards, but it's an example of how surveyors can consult and spread ideas."

4. It can pay for itself, in certain circumstances. Some liability providers will recognize accreditations for discounts, according to Mr. Kulczycki. This can allow the cost of the accreditation to make up for itself, and quickly, through things like liability premium discounts

5. It may provide access to additional useful resources. The Joint Commission in particular offers ready-made performance improvement tools, a leading-practices library compiled from compliant healthcare facilities and other resources to its accredited organizations free of charge. "If an ASC needs a new practice improvement idea, it can creatively borrow the idea directly from another center," says Mr. Kulczycki.

6. It attracts stellar staff. "It's often a factor for retaining and recruiting staff. If your center is accredited and the neighboring center is not, it makes a difference," says Mr. Kulczycki.

More Articles on Accreditation:
HIT Top Safety Concern for 2014
Joint Commission Postpones New Ambulatory Diagnostic Imaging Standards
5 Performance Improvement Basics

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