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izing the need to hold organizations accountable. They want to keep health care costs down while pushing organi- zations to provide high-quality care to everyone.”

Understand the Importance Before an ASC can truly embrace a patient-centric care culture, it is impor- tant for its employees to understand the important role they play in an ASC’s suc- cess, both clinically and financially, says Deborah Comerford, RN, CASC, vice president of operations for ASC man- agement and development company Ambulatory Surgical Centers of Amer- ica, based in Hanover, Massachusetts. “Freestanding ASCs are small busi-

Achieving and Sustaining a Culture of Patient-Centric Care

Government support continues to grow BY ROBERT KURTZ


he culture that an ASC is aiming for doesn’t just develop naturally,

says Jo Ellen Braden, RN, CASC, qual- ity assurance performance improvement (QAPI) coordinator at Taylor Station Surgical Center in Columbus, Ohio. It requires hard work and commitment. As part of their promise to safely

deliver quality outcomes, she says, ASCs must strive to establish a cul- ture of patient-centric care. “It is the right thing for ASCs to do to keep their patients safe. Much of what goes into doing so is simple, but lives depend on it. It is that reason why every entity within the US health care system should work to provide high-quality patient care.” “Patient-centered care” is a buzz-

word these days, says Adam Higman, vice president at Soyring Consulting, a health care consultation and man- agement firm based in St. Petersburg,


Florida. Although most organizations understand its importance, he adds, many invest more in paying lip service to the idea than in actually trying to achieve it. “Organizations with a patient-cen- tered ideology and focus tend to have better outcomes,” Higman says. “They are less likely to get unexpected admis- sions to the hospital and less likely to have problems on the day of surgery in connection to patient compliance.” “There has been a lot of research

into how to make culture stick,” Hig- man continues. “It is not easy and does not happen quickly, but the jour- ney is worthwhile.” It is a journey the government is pushing for, Braden says. “There has been legislation enacted through the Affordable Care Act and other laws that are driving quality standards from a national level. Our government is real-

nesses,” she says. “Patients do not automatically walk through our doors. They elect to come to our facility and the product they come for is patient care. ASCs have to provide a good product or else they will go out of busi- ness. Delivering excellent, personal- ized care is part of your marketing and strategy to stay open.” What it boils down to, Higman

says, is choice. “The industry is trend- ing toward consumerism and more cus- tomer choice. High-deductible plans are pushing people to shop around not only for lower prices but outcomes. Physi- cians are doing their homework as well, looking for the best places to refer their patients and perform their procedures.” On a professional level, Braden

says, “it is our duty to provide this to our patients.”

How to Make It Happen For an ASC to develop and maintain a culture of patient-centric care, leader- ship support is necessary, Braden says. “There is a reason why accreditation and regulatory standards for quality and excellence are tied to governance and leadership. Culture needs sup- port from the top, and then it will flow down through everyone in the facil- ity. When leaders demand that sound

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