The Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC), the industry leader in ambulatory health care accreditation, has developed an Advanced Orthopaedic Certification program for ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) seeking recognition for their high quality of care and compliance with rigorous, specialty-focused standards. This three-year certification program was designed by an expert panel of practicing professionals in orthopaedic and spine procedures. It builds on AAAHC accreditation, enabling an organization to showcase its commitment to patient safety and quality of care in delivering orthopaedic specialty services.

According to Arnaldo Valedon, MD, anesthesiologist and AAAHC Board chair, “This program heightens the focus on the importance of ‘team’ in delivery of quality orthopaedic care and provides patients seeking care more information specific to the ASCs delivering these services. Top quality ASCs equally emphasize pre-operative preparation, evidence-based intraoperative pathways for care, and post-operative management.”

The AAAHC Advanced Orthopaedic Certification program assesses an organization’s use of evidence-based clinical practice guidelines, ongoing performance improvement strategies, and an organizational infrastructure that promotes excellence. Through an onsite survey conducted by a clinical surveyor experienced in the ambulatory orthopaedic setting, this program provides a comprehensive focus on transitions of care from pre-assessment through discharge and rehabilitation.

“Many of our AAAHC-accredited ASCs have expressed interest in an orthopaedic certification program to validate and continue to improve their high-quality care and patient outcomes in orthopaedic procedures,” said Noel Adachi, MBA, president and CEO of AAAHC. “Our program was designed to help organizations strengthen their focus on improving orthopaedic patient outcomes and is aligned with requests from third party insurers to determine ways to identify providers with a proven history of delivering exceptional care and results.”

Certification Framework

AAAHC-accredited ASCs may earn certification by meeting specialty-specific standards. Facilities can choose from two types of advanced certification, total joint or spine, or pursue a combined certification that addresses both services.

Through an onsite survey, AAAHC surveyors assess performance using detailed Standards focused on the delivery of orthopaedic services. The onsite survey is an educational experience conducted by peer surveyors responsible for reviewing a facility’s operation and sharing best practices. Surveyors identify areas in which a facility is effectively demonstrating quality and compliance to AAAHC Standards and gaps in performance that require corrective action. AAAHC Orthopaedic Certification Standards include six chapters separated into two areas in the delivery of orthopaedic services: leadership effectiveness and care integration.

Effective Leadership

  • Leadership of the organization demonstrates its commitment to the specialty certification program.
  • Specialty service is adequately supported with appropriately credentialed providers and trained staff.
  • Specialty service has a quality improvement process that reflects risk reduction and data-driven improvement opportunities.

Integrated Care

  • Specialty service activities are defined in writing and processes are in place that support evidence-based practice.
  • Information management systems meet the needs of specialty service delivery.
  • All services provided to a patient for a specific disease/condition during a given period of time reflect an integrated approach across the health care continuum.
  • Processes are in place to actively engage the community in health care programs and services, as well as collect feedback to gauge patient satisfaction.

For additional information, visit http://www.aaahc.org/certification/.