very broad in scope, and they reflect our work environment,” she adds. Crook says her team reviews the data it collects using its IT system frequently because it is so easily accessible. “I love it because you can see everything in one spot. It is real data and not assumptions. We are reviewing everything on a monthly basis, annual basis and even some- times per incident. When we see something that is trending away from our benchmark, we can focus on what we can do to resolve the cause. We can see how effective our actions are in reaching a goal because we can keep watching the data after we implement changes.” Day suggests that ASCs that do

not have the means to collect accu- rate data could easily be convinced that there are no areas in need of improvement. As an example, she says that when ASCs claim that they have a hand hygiene compliance rate of 100 percent, she is skeptical because she doesn’t believe that any- one is perfect all of the time. “While it is nice to apply percentages to per- formance,” Day says, “ASCs should not just focus on these figures. They need to be able to hold up the looking glass and have the means to honestly examine their performance.” The data ASCs collect can also be useful for benchmarking, both internally and externally, says Sandra Jones, CASC, president of ASC management and development company Ambulatory Strategies Inc. in Dade City, Florida. “Some organizations are gathering data on the G-codes they are required to report to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for all of their patients, not just the Medicare patients they see. They are then using that data to compare themselves to other ASCs to determine whether improvement might need to occur.”

Technology can certainly help us, but its value will ultimately depend upon the people using it.”

—Sandra Jones, CASC, Ambulatory Strategies Inc.

Sharing Information Using technology to track quality can also prove useful in discussions with payers, Jones adds. “ASCs are able to take their data to insurers, show them outcome and process informa- tion, and support claims of provid- ing great outcomes. Insurance com- panies have been excited to receive this type of information. Payers need to justify to the companies that pur- chase insurance that the care employ- ees will receive makes the purchase worthwhile, so insurers are con- stantly looking at their provider net- works and trying to select organiza- tions focused on quality outcomes.” Valley Ambulatory Surgery Cen- ter recently began sharing its qual- ity data with payers to support the launch of a new joint program at the ASC. “This is the first time I have really leveraged our quality data with a payer, but it is making a dif- ference in our negotiations,” Crook explains. “I know exactly how many joint procedures we have performed and their outcomes. I also know what to negotiate because I know my exact expenses. Tracking these elements in our system helps us make better decisions. The numbers do not lie.”

Take Full Advantage While more ASCs are purchasing tech- nology, Jones says many are not yet using these systems to their full capacity. “I see people who can do the basics with their technology, but they are not yet looking at how they can use certain features such as occurrence reporting to track variances in their processes,” she says. “ASCs should be working with their technology vendors to learn different ways to use the systems’ modules to pull the information out that can help tell their story.” Jones also suggests that the grow- ing number of regulatory requirements that are more easily met through the use of technology provides another incentive for ASCs to put technology to work in their facilities. Regardless of the technology

used by an ASC, improving quality requires a day-to-day commitment, Day says. “That sentiment must carry throughout an entire organization. If leaders do not see quality improve- ment as the big picture and they do not rally personnel under their direc- tion, these efforts will falter. Tech- nology can certainly help us, but its value will ultimately depend upon the people using it.”


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