Creating a Culture of Safety in an ASC: Our Tips & Tricks

A culture of safety is essential to maintaining consistently high health standards for patients, personnel, and surgeons. While all Ambulatory Surgery Centers strive for safety, having a culture focused on this means taking it a step further. It has to become a seamless feature of every activity and transaction in the ASC. How do you achieve a culture of safety, where safety is more than just a buzz word?

What Is a Culture of Safety?

A culture of safety aims to decrease medical errors and increase the safety and health protocols at your ASC. It should also foster an environment where personnel are confident that addressing problems and reporting errors will result in positive action without negative repercussions for them. Ideally, staff should feel they are active participants in helping the ASC evolve and improve safety at every turn.

Education & Leadership

Safety culture will never take hold unless directors and management actively practice and support it. That means keeping abreast of any changes in safety protocol and educating staff. Safety standards and best practices are continually evolving, making continuing education an essential part of safety culture. The CDC, AORN, ASPN, and other organizations have excellent resources for ASCs for implementing proper medical and patient care safety precautions. Take advantage of these resources and bring in professionals for staff education when appropriate.

Educating your patients is also a part of a culture of safety. With One Medical Passport’s patient engagement tools, you can provide instructions to patients to ensure optimal recovery. Customized educational materials (especially videos) elevate your ASC's standard of care before and after surgery.

Team Coordination

A culture of safety requires precise team coordination from patient check-in to post-op care and at-home instructions. If even one team member is out of the loop, they can miss a step along the way. One Medical Passport's patient tracking software ensures every team member knows at all times where each patient is and what safety procedures have or haven't been completed. Instant, simultaneous updates on monitors throughout your facility mean no more worrying about whether something has been done or whether a team member’s information is the most current.

Checks Along the Way

Developing a checklist for staff to refer to at various points throughout a patient’s progress through the ASC reinforces the need to take specific steps. In ASCs, checklists might be developed for safety steps to take when a patient arrives, prior to anesthesia, before surgery begins, in recovery, and before the patient leaves the facility. If checklists are consistently used, over time, each item on the lists will become second nature. Periodically referring to the checklist is a powerful reinforcer for nurses, anesthesiologists, and surgeons at every phase of patient care. These are also valuable training tools for new staff members to ensure they quickly become a part of the ASC’s culture of safety.

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