Why Pursue Accreditation for Your Specialty Program?
A significant purpose of any accreditation process, whether in healthcare or another industry, is to ensure adequate attention is being paid to critical aspects of a process to result in a positive outcome. In healthcare, this translates to having processes in place to guide the right care, at the right time, for the right patients to support high-quality patient care and good clinical outcomes.
However, some individuals can be intimidated by the prospect of an accreditation process. Concerns about what unknown issues may be uncovered or the time that it takes to compile the information for an accreditation can prevent some organizations from even signing on to start the process. However, the most important aspect of the accreditation is what comes out of it – namely, improved quality and peace of mind that the program is operating effectively.
Does Program Accreditation Support Best Practices?
Corazon’s philosophy for accreditation is based on a collaborative approach to building up the programs we work with. There is an effort required to submit the initial information, but this also represents a crucial opportunity to identify gaps in a program and fill them in. It is only by initiating the review of the program that these gaps can be uncovered. Furthermore, the checklist validates what is already in place and provides a name for any gaps that exist, making it easier to address.
With Corazon’s philosophy, existing programs can receive a valuable resource to evaluate their current operations. The process is explicitly based on a checklist of best practices that are provided to hospitals to ensure all the necessary components are in place prior to a formal survey.
The other side of the equation is the time it can take to compile and submit the documentation required. While this is often a bit of a “lift,” primarily for the first time a program is accredited, it is an essential undertaking that should be regularly completed. Consider the potential cost, both financially and in patient/community perception, of a serious quality fallout. Now consider how much that would be multiplied if it were due to an avoidable mistake simply because something within the program hadn’t been properly updated.
Simply stated, if your program has not completed a comprehensive review of policies, procedures, documentation, staff education requirements, patient selection criteria, data collection and analysis systems, equipment appropriateness, or any other area in the last 3-4 years, that program cannot be considered in line with best practices. Corazon believes these attributes should be evaluated at least once every 2 years to ensure compliance with changing practices, adequate awareness from your staff, and incorporation of any new procedures/technology/facility changes.
Much of the information should be organized in a way that is readily accessible already, and if it is not, accreditation offers the perfect opportunity to update the information while organizing it for future reference.
Feedback for Continuous Quality Improvement
Once the information is submitted, the accreditation becomes fully about providing feedback to help the program improve. It is not a red pen and a checklist looking for any opportunity to dock points, but more of a conversation to ensure the hospital team is actively utilizing the information available to them to effect change. Corazon’s approach includes quarterly feedback to all accreditation clients to review outcomes data and identify areas of focus for improvement or a watchful eye.
This extra level of review even promotes a general culture of data awareness and literacy so stakeholders will proactively monitor outcomes and know when pre-emptive corrective action may be needed. This can prevent quality fallouts and poor outcomes, which also has a positive financial impact by reducing complication rates, preventing readmissions, decreasing length of stay, or positively impacting any number of other metrics.
Corazon has also gone through external reviews for general operations and even HIPAA compliance. Every time, the value of both preparing for the review and receiving feedback from a third party has far outweighed the effort it took to compile the necessary information. Cardiovascular accreditation with Corazon is no different. The Service Line Experts have built a reputation around being a resource for healthcare providers across the country. Corazon Accreditation is just one way that meeting best practice standards can differentiate a program while supporting ongoing continuous quality improvement efforts.