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7 Questions to Ask When Preparing for an AAAHC survey

by Barbora Ilic
AAAHC survey

Stay on Top of Standards, Documentation, and Ensure Quality at All Times

The Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC) is an influential accrediting body that promotes high-quality care and patient safety in ambulatory healthcare facilities. According to AAAHC, accreditation is a distinguishing accomplishment that you can promote within the community you serve. It assures patients and stakeholders that the accredited facility has undergone a thorough evaluation and meets or exceeds nationally recognized standards. There are huge benefits when obtaining this accreditation, so how can ambulatory healthcare facilities prepare for the AAAHC Accreditation Survey? 

Preparing for an AAAHC survey is a comprehensive process that involves attention to various aspects of your healthcare organization. The goal is to ensure that the facility meets or exceeds AAAHC’s rigorous standards for quality and patient safety. By aligning themselves with the recognized standards upheld by AAAHC, health professionals can showcase their commitment to providing excellent care, which can attract and retain patients, referrals, and partnerships.

Here are some key areas and questions to consider while preparing for an AAAHC survey: 

1. Are your policies up-to-date, documented, and easily accessible to staff?

Healthcare organizations must regularly review and update their policies and procedures to align with accreditation standards. This includes documentation on infection control, medication management, patient rights, emergency preparedness, and more. Policies should be clear, comprehensive, and easily accessible to all staff. Documenting these policies and procedures digitally and all in one place using Surglogs increases efficiency and reduces the time spent on updating different binders or Excel sheets, not to mention greatly reducing human error when information is stored in many different places. 

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2. How are you seeking ways to improve quality?

AAAHC places great emphasis on demonstrating a commitment to ongoing quality improvement. Consider establishing a continuous quality improvement (CQI) program to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of your organization’s processes. This is a smart way to stay on track and places continuous improvement at the center of your culture which is a cornerstone of AAAHC. Healthcare organizations must have systems in place to monitor and assess the quality of care provided. This includes capturing and analyzing data, conducting audits, and implementing strategies to address areas for improvement identified through the data. This is a must when preparing for an AAAHC survey.

3. Is your staff aware of policies and processes?

Train your staff on AAAHC standards, policies, and procedures. Ensure that everyone understands their roles and responsibilities in maintaining compliance. This is essential to ensure that all staff members are properly trained and equipped to perform their roles effectively. Healthcare organizations must maintain records of staff training, certifications, and competencies. Training programs should cover topics like infection control, medication management, emergency response, patient safety, and relevant policies and procedures. Foster open communication within the organization. Ensure that staff can easily report concerns or issues related to patient safety and compliance.

4. Is the facility inspection ready and adhering to all safety standards?

Healthcare organizations need to ensure that their physical facilities and equipment meet all safety standards. This includes regular inspection and maintenance of equipment, proper storage and handling of hazardous materials, adherence to fire and electrical safety codes, and overall facility cleanliness. Organizing supplies and knowing what is on the premises is also important. Keeping an accurate inventory and knowing when to rotate supplies is easily maintained and managed in Surglogs. 

5. Are all important documents stored in one place and easily accessible?

Healthcare organizations need to maintain complete and accurate records of patient care, including medical records, consent forms, incident reports, and more. These documents should be organized and easily accessible before and during the AAAHC survey. Proving to an accrediting surveyor that your ASC is organized, accurate, and up-to-date is well managed using Surglogs software, which can give a complete overview of all your center’s completed tasks digitally. AAAHC prioritizes patient-centered care and requires healthcare organizations to protect and promote patient rights. Organizations should have policies and procedures in place to ensure patient privacy, informed consent, and clear communication of patient rights and responsibilities. Patient education materials should be readily available, and staff should be trained to address patient concerns and questions. 

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6. Do you collect feedback and make improvements if needed?

Gathering feedback from patients and staff helps to understand both internal and external satisfaction levels. AAAHC places great emphasis on continuous quality improvement. Feedback serves as a valuable tool for monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of initiatives that are in place. If there are concerns or areas for improvement identified via feedback then appropriate actions can be taken. This is another way to prepare for an AAAHC and ensure alignment with the high level of standards of AAAHC.

7. Is your team prepared for a last-minute surveyor to drop in?

The AAAHC survey generally happens every 3 years but an inspection can happen when you may not be expecting it. There are a few ways to prepare and be ready at all times. Conduct a self-assessment regularly. This practice can help to identify areas of potential non-compliance and address any deficiencies or areas that need improvement. Fill out a mock survey to simulate the accreditation process. This helps identify areas that are lacking and this helps familiarize staff with the survey process. A simple way to stay organized and create accountability is to develop a compliance calendar to track important dates. Schedule weekly or monthly tasks for equipment checks/maintenance, policy reviews, staff training sessions, and emergency response protocols.

The Benefits of Preparing for an AAAHC Survey Ahead of Time

Preparing for an AAAHC survey requires significant time and effort, but the benefits and long-term payoff make it well worth the investment. By diligently reviewing policies, enhancing quality improvement initiatives, and addressing feedback, healthcare organizations can align themselves with the highest standards of quality and patient safety. The accreditation earned through the AAAHC process not only enhances the organization’s reputation but also assures patients and stakeholders of the exceptional care they can expect. Surglogs is a highly customizable, HIPAA-compliant, cloud-based app that becomes an ambulatory surgery center’s all-in-one accreditation management platform.

Implementing Surglogs aids in the entire process by digitizing and storing information and makes it very accessible for staff to review from a tablet or computer. Tracking info with pen and paper in binders can get messy and quickly unorganized. Surglogs user-friendly platform makes it easy to organize tasks by role and keep track of the process all in one place. 

Being thoroughly prepared for an AAAHC survey at all times pays off in the long run by promoting excellence, instilling trust, and driving continuous quality improvement in healthcare organizations. 

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