5 Steps to Develop an Outstanding ASC Quality Program

At the 18th Annual Ambulatory Surgery Centers Conference in Chicago on Oct. 28, Linda Lansing, senior vice president of clinical services at Surgical Care Affiliates, discussed methods for developing a quality program that makes a difference.

She started by talking about the opportunities for improvement, which include a failure to perform to industry standards, a less than acceptable patient satisfaction participation and pockets of medication errors.

Ms. Lansing said the following steps will allow a surgery center to implement a quality program that is data-driven and encourages performance improvement.

1. Analyze current program. Ms. Lansing recommended taking a “deep dive” into a center’s current QAPI program. She said to check things such as the quality of the documentation, ease of benchmarking across centers or years, the amount of time spent on data collection versus action and ownership of program throughout the center.

2. Standardize tools. One tip Ms. Lansing offers to center developing a plan is to keep it simple. Creating standardized and efficient tools and processes can help. SCA offers a toolkit for centers that delineates exactly what each person in the center is responsible for. This is a key for any successful quality program.

3. Create a culture of compliance. Even with clear tools and processes, getting buy-in from staff is essential, Ms. Lansing said. When investigating where quality programs fell apart, she said there was a clear moment in time when people decided not to follow the process.

“If you want to drive ownership, everybody has to have something that’s customizable to their own personal needs,” she said.

She suggested creating absolute accountability as well as celebrating successes by making it “everyone’s own success.”

4. Make data easy to read and digest. Ms. Lansing recommended presenting data in a visually appealing and easy-to-read way. SCA produces report cards for their centers every month that use an image of a dial to help visualize the data for four keys areas they call vitals. They encourage centers to display the report cards in the center.

“Focus on the vital few things that are going to drive improvement,” she said. “Focus on the few thing that are going to get us to the right place. “

5. Get the staff involved.
SCA created a learning tool for center staff called the Clinical Excellence Universe. It’s essentially a rolling computer with informational tools loaded on to it, Ms. Lansing said. Every month, they send out a newsletter that highlights what’s new on the CEU. SCA also ran a campaign on wrong site surgery last year where they gave centers a flip cam and asked them to create videos on how they were working to improve wrong site surgery.

Related Articles on Quality Assessment and Performance Improvement:
Overview of Quality Reporting in Surgery Centers: Q&A With Donna Slosburg of the ASC Quality Collaboration
5 Things to Know About Infection Control and Compliance
3 QAPI Studies Praised by Surveyors at ASC Durango in Colorado

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