Starting the data revolution — How the AAAASF, Nebula Data Intel partnership can transform your ASC

The American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities and Nebula Data Intel are aiming to transform the ASC industry through a new data initiative that will collect clinical and operational data to provide outpatient surgical centers an all-encompassing look at their center's performance compared to other centers through a preference card.

AAAASF President David Watts, MD, spoke to Becker's ASC Review about the initiative and the potential it has to revolutionize the ASC space.

The initiative will consist of several different data collection facets, taking surgical procedure data and compiling it into a searchable, living database.

To do this, centers will scan a procedure preference card. The card will be uploaded to a proprietary, cloud-based database, de-identified and then aggregated with invoice data and pharma data to produce intelligent and actionable benchmarks and dashboards. Eventually, patient-reported satisfaction data will be added to the mix.

Dr. Watts described the simplicity of the finished system, "We've gotten it down to a three-click system that takes six seconds to do."

For example, when considering Dr. Watt's plastic surgery practice. Using the system, he'd click his name, click the procedure he wanted to log, click the relevant procedure information, and then the relevant sales and consumption data will be paired to it and submitted to the cloud. As patients come in for a procedure, they'll be given a tablet to enter in their information that'll be de-identified and then added to the cloud. The data is made available through online reports.

"What this'll be able to do is show physicians how they compare to everyone else in the country, not only on consumptions, sales and cost, but with complications, patient satisfaction, pharmaceuticals used and adverse reaction data. You can mix and match this data anyway you want it and cross reference it however," Dr. Watts says.

The data entry process was created to be as minimal as possible. Data entry is broken down into three methods to accommodate long surgical procedures, short surgical procedures or procedural procedures — procedures that are more scope or injection based. Each method makes data entry a fast and simple process.

The organizations are inviting any accredited outpatient surgical center to participate in the initiative. The initiative is voluntary and costs nothing to participate. Nebula Data Intel is providing every participating organization with the resources needed to participate. For more information, click here.

NDI will also work with less-technically inclined centers to facilitate paper-record collection.

To ensure the data collection process is accurate, Cambridge, Mass.-based Harvard University will be functioning as quality checkers. Dr. Watts said they'll ensure the data is appropriate and clean.

Harvard researchers have already used AAAASF's outcome data to study venous thromboembolisms and related pulmonary embolism deaths between 2006 and 2012.In that time period, 42 patients died. Facilities are required to fill out a preoperative risk death assessment before such a procedure. Researchers analyzed the forms and found the form was only properly filled out in two instances. Dr. Watts says, "If they had followed protocol, perhaps the other 40 deaths could have been eliminated."

The study is an example of the power of data. "[Data] will make all the facilities more efficient. It'll allow them to know what's going on in terms of complications, patient satisfaction, cost efficiencies and better inventory management. All of this will come from this data. This is an incredible project that has never been done before," says Dr. Watts.

Nebula Data Intel is currently recruiting interested centers. They aim to launch the study in the first quarter of 2019, making data available soon thereafter.

The study is open to all accredited centers regardless of the accrediting body. Nebula Data Intel will provide free templates that'll help centers provide quality assurance data, and participating organizations will also have access to the resulting database.

AAAHC or The Joint Commission accredited?
Nebula Data Intel made the study open to all accredited centers regardless of which organization was the accrediting body.

Nebula Data Intel designed a program to help Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care or The Joint Commission accredited organizations provide data for the initiative. Nebula Data Intel will provide free templates that'll help centers provide quality assurance data. Participating organizations will also have access to the resulting database.

More articles on quality:
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Several hospitalized after car crashes into Mississippi surgery center — 4 things to know
Former Surgery Partners CEO resigns from board & more — 8 ASC company key notes

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