At the 11th Annual Spine, Orthopedic & Pain-Management Driven ASC Conference on June 14, Marcia A. Friesen, RN, president of Orthopaedic Advantage, a healthcare consulting company, shared 10 considerations for designing and implementing high-performing orthopedic centers of excellence.
“There currently is no official ASC center of excellence designation,” said Ms. Friesen, noting that the designation is currently reserved for hospitals. However, she said the lessons learned by hospitals as centers of excellence are important for ASCs now because “we believe ASC centers of excellence are coming,” she said. “And preparing is a lot easier if you know what’s coming down the road.”
She identified 10 critical success factors for ASCs to know now:
1. Physician leadership and administrators. Engage key providers across the continuum of care, and look at the contractual agreements and the role everyone will play in moving forward, said Ms. Friesen. “Ask yourselves, ‘How does this partnership work?’” said Ms. Friesen.
2. A consensus on vision. All key stakeholders in the ASC should know “what direction you’re going in,” said Ms. Friesen. She advocates a common understanding on how the ASC will become a top provider in the area, and in what ways the ASC will be known for providing patient-centric care.
3. Organizational structure. An efficient organizational structure is “critical for success,” said Ms. Friesen. An integrated partnership model, including a center of excellence navigator, is effective for moving toward a center of excellence, she said.
4. Standardized clinical processes. “From patient workup through outpatient experience,” the whole process should be standardized to provide a consistently high level of care, and provide the optimal patient experience, said Ms. Friesen.
5. Certified staff. Accreditors will look at how many of an ASC’s core staff is certified in orthopedics, said Ms. Friesen. “The Joint Commission already looks at staff competency,” she said, “and as ASCs begin to function more like hospitals, these are things that are going to be important to look at” she said.
6. Dedicated space with a wellness focus. Much like most hospitals have, Ms. Friesen recommends having a dedicated space within the facility for patients to focus on wellness and rehabilitation. “You should begin to focus on inpatient group activities like exercise classes,” she said.
7. Exceptional patient experience. Ms. Friesen stressed the importance of communicating to patients exactly what they will experience before, during and after their procedure. “You need to make sure patients are well-prepared,” she said. Since the families of orthopedic patients are often involved in post-surgery care, she said it is important to include them in the patient education as well.
8. Focused marketing plan. When a hospital is ready to market its new designation, it is important to know the specific patient population that should be targeted, and market accordingly, said Ms. Friesen. She recommended community outreach seminars as a way to reach potential patients.
9. Quantified quality measures. Because payers are always focused on quality measures, Ms. Friesen told the audience: “If you’re not already tracking them, I encourage you to start.” Because of the way The Joint Commission currently accredits, she recommends tracking both clinical outcomes and nonclinical measures, such as patient satisfaction and efficient resource allocation in the center.
10. Keep improving. Ms. Friesen recommends identifying any “gaps” in achieving or maintaining center of excellence status, and prioritizing improvements to keep the center high-performing.
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