ASC Patient Safety Initiatives: 3 Progressive Programs

Here are three ambulatory surgery centers that have implemented unique initiatives to improve patient safety at their facilities.

If you would like to recommend another surgery center for this list, contact Anuja Vaidya at

Oregon Ambulatory Surgery Center Association. According to OASCA Executive Director Chris Skagen, the association was one of three states in the nation to participate in a patient safety checklist initiative. The goal of the initiative was to encourage a culture of patient safety in the operating room.

"One of the most interesting components of this project included changing the perception of staff and encouraging communication," said Mr. Skagen. "Even changing the language of a 'near miss' to a 'good catch' eliminated the stigma that was placed on a staff that noticed an error in the process."

Thus, a culture of teamwork was fostered, wherein the nurses and staff members were encouraged to speak to the surgeons if they saw that something was wrong, said Mr. Skagen.

The Oregon Ambulatory Surgery Center Association is a statewide, nonprofit membership association representing the interests of the industry. "OASCA is proud to be a leader in the country for similar organizations in taking on initiatives that promote cost effective, high value care to the patient. We continually work with the Oregon Patient Safety Commission on their initiatives and openly discuss how to improve the healthcare landscape," said Mr. Skagen.

Regent Surgical Health. Regent Surgical Health centers have changed processes for intraocular lens implant surgeries to prevent errors. "Regent centers are now implementing an additional step in the 'Time Out' for IOL implant surgeries," said Kathleen Bernicky, RN, BSN, director of clinical operations at Regent Surgical Health. "We have expanded our policies and practices to include a very specific IOL Time Out that has been recommended by The American Academy of Ophthalmology."

Regent Surgical Health centers must complete the additional safety check for every IOL surgery, every time. Ms. Bernicky details guidelines from the AAO for IOL verification in a Becker's ASC Review article, and discusses additional IOL implant processes that Regent Surgical Health is having its centers focus on, such as the written order prior to day of surgery must include the surgical procedure, the operative eye, medications and the IOL to be used.
However, "Every center is unique so administration should work together with their surgeons to review their current practice and develop their own facility-specific policy and procedure," said Ms. Bernicky.

Regent Surgical Health is an ASC development and management company.

Summit Orthopaedic Surgery Center (Newnan, Ga.). Summit Orthopaedic Surgery Center, the outpatient surgery center of Georgia Bone and Joint, was searching for a system to help it become a 'high reliability organization," according to ASC Manager Heather Atkinson. Georgia Bone and Joint recently teamed with LifeWings Partners in an effort intended to utilize evidence-based "high reliability organization" concepts and procedures in order to improve patient safety and efficiency.

The concepts and procedures included site assessment; culture change initiatives that ensured all personnel speak up in the interest of patient safety; evidence-based teamwork training; streamlined preoperative process that reduced paperwork; use of a practice-specific surgical safety checklist modified from the WHO checklist; and standardized anesthesia handoff and transfer processes.

"Since implementation of the program our staff has transitioned to a point where they are more likely to speak up in the interest of the patient," said Ms. Atkinson. "Also it has brought a realization that everyone should check one another and be an active participant at every point throughout the care in our ASC."

The 8,141-square-foot surgery center includes two operating rooms, five preoperative rooms, five recovery areas and one procedure room. It is accredited by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care and is certified by Medicare. It performs 3,500 cases annually.

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