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FEATURE


tions that do apply to help ensure accu- rate, meaningful reports. Participants have one month to enter in their data each quarter. For example, for the second quarter of 2016, ASCs had from July 1 to 31 to enter their data. The comprehensive reports for that quarter were then made available on August 15. In designing the program, ASCA


worked to make sure that the survey is user-friendly, Throneberry says. One feature incorporated into the program as a result is that participants can enter their information and access available reports at any time. “If you are a director in an ASC like


me, you really do not have much time to benchmark,” Darimont says. “It is great to have a resource that is not only credible but also easy to complete, access and use.”


What’s New


The benchmarking program’s new platform introduces a number of new features, Greenwich says. “One big difference in the new platform is an ability to run reports in various ways using dynamic filtering capabilities to obtain a customized report.” With this feature, participants can


select any filter or combination of fil- ters to compare their data to a subset of data. ASCs can run reports that compare their performance to all ASCs (unfiltered) or to like-ASCs based on qualities captured in the ASC profile and demographics section of the survey. This feature makes the platform


even more valuable than before, says Darimont, whose ASC has been a pro- gram participant since 2014. “We can now compare apples to apples,” she says. “I am in a dedicated orthopedic ASC. I can choose to compare our data to the data from just other orthopedic ASCs. Also, I have a small ASC with just two ORs. I can now compare our ASC to other orthopedic ASCs with


just two ORs. We can filter down fur- ther by number of physicians, hours we are open and more. “Why would you want to bench-


mark against an ASC that is doing dif- ferent specialties and procedures when you can compare yourself to ASCs just like yours?” she asks. The platform includes a few other


new features that participants find valuable, Greenwich says. There is now the ability to download reports in both PowerPoint and Word formats, which is useful for analysis and presentation. “Users can also preview their answers to all of the questions in the survey before the reports are released to help ensure that their ASC submitted accurate data.”


Ongoing and Growing Value Darimont says the benchmarking program has helped her ASC make a number of improvements over the years. “Right now, I am doing a benchmarking study on the tem- perature of our shoulder surgery patients,” she says.


“I learned we


have had patients waking up a lit- tle cooler than other ASCs perform- ing similar procedures. They are able to keep their patients warmer, so we are instituting some changes to raise the temperature. How would I have known that without the apples-to- apples comparison?” Greenwich says one of the most


appealing aspects of the program is its subscriber base. As of mid-July,


ASCA Benchmarking


Join the program at www.ascassociation.org/ ASCAbenchmarking. ASCA members get a discount. If you have questions about the program or the online signup, please email asc@ascassociation.org or call Member Services at 703.836.8808.


there were more than 950 subscribers, or just under 20 percent of the total number of Medicare-certified ASCs in the country. ASCs from 49 states (all but Vermont), the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico participated in first-quar- ter reporting.


“The data from our very large and


growing subscriber base provides important insight into an ASC’s per- formance,” he says. “Our benchmark- ing program does more than just take a snapshot of data and report that for a quarter. It records your data over mul- tiple quarters so you can see trends over time.”


ASCA is constantly working to


improve the platform for its users, Throneberry says. “ASCA is always in the loop on the quality measures that Medicare could potentially add to the growing list of ASC mea- sures,” she says. “We will proactively put those questions into the survey and let people start practicing on col- lecting that data. This allows them to be prepared if and when measures become mandatory.” The benchmarking program rep- resents just one of many ways ASCA looks out for the ASC community, Darimont says. “In addition to helping keep us compliant, benchmarking con- tinuously is the only way I will know if our ASC’s performance ever starts slipping below the norm. I owe it to our patients not to allow that to happen.”


ASC FOCUS OCTOBER 2016 19


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