AHRQ's Toolkit to Improve Safety in Ambulatory Surgery Centers

Approximately 23 million surgical procedures are performed in ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) each year.  While most procedures are performed without incident, as with any healthcare setting, complications can arise. National data indicates that some of the top claims allegations for ASCs include:

  • Failure to perform adequate pre-surgical assessment
  • Failure to provide timely intervention during a procedure
  • Performing surgery on the wrong part/patient
  • Performing surgery on patients with potential high-risk complications
  • Failure to adhere to admission/discharge procedures
  • Neglect leading to unsterile conditions

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) recently released the Toolkit to Improve Safety in Ambulatory Surgery Centers. ASCs can use the toolkit to apply the proven principles and methods of AHRQ's Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program (CUSP) to prevent surgical site infections (SSI) and other complications and improve safety culture in their facilities.  The toolkit is organized into three sections that your facility can use to teach team members how to apply CUSP to prevent surgical site infections and other complications. Each section contains guides, tools, slide sets, and videos to support implementation. All materials are publicly available and downloadable online. Many can be modified to meet local facility needs and criteria. 

In addition, the Ambulatory Surgery Center Survey on Patient Safety Culture, helps ASCs assess their performance in maintaining a staff culture of safety, which is foundational to addressing safety issues at individual facilities. Also, the toolkit includes patient and family engagement materials, including a patient brochure called "Getting Ready for Your Ambulatory Surgery," which helps patients know what to expect before, during, and after ambulatory procedures.

MPIE recognizes excellence in the quality and safety of care delivered at ASCs and offers a risk management premium discount to ASCs that can demonstrate the effective use of a patient safety program which includes policies and procedures to eliminate the potential risks described above. We highly recommend that ASCs utilize tools such as the AHRQ toolkit, the culture survey and patient educational materials to improve patient safety in the ASC environment.

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