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Guidance for Effective Medication Safety Process: Insight From AAAHC Surveyor Gayle Lowe

Gayle Lowe, RN, AAAHC surveyor, offers insight on how ASCs can work to better meet medication safety requirements.


Gayle Lowe: In a fast-paced surgery center, where everyone knows each other and trusts each other, there needs to be a lot more vigilance when it comes to securing needles, syringes, drug paraphernalia, medications, having proper labeling, etc. One critical way to this is to perform self-monitoring.


You need to have a process in place where staff members know what the standards are and what their policies have stated. The hardest part then is having practice meet the policy. You can write a great policy but if you can't put it into practice and you can't have it as a day-to-day process, then you're going to fail — a patient is going to be injured, there's going to be a liability claim — there's going to be a problem down the road that someone is going to pay for.

To properly self-monitor, you need to document findings and improve upon compliance through education and possibly through better processes, monitoring of the policy, etc. — it's management by walkthrough. It's not just putting out the fire that day but having a process where you're tracking and trending as to where you're falling down on the practice versus the policy, where you may have to go back and really take an in-depth look at how can you improve the education and gather staff input into how to become more compliant in meeting your process.


Don't wait until it falls out into a claim or a patient injury complaint. Prevent it from happening — make sure you're doing what you say you're going to do.


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