The need to improve the quality of healthcare and enhance patient safety lead to the establishment of the Association of Accreditation of Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC) in 1979. AAAHC is one of the key organizations in the United States that contributes to the achievement of managed care. Based on the support it has received from major healthcare organizations in the United States, AAAHC has become an accreditor of thousands of healthcare organizations in the United States and across the world (AAAHC, 2010). As the leading accreditor, this essay seeks to examine its purpose, impact on patients, the process of accreditation, key standards and their validity, and publication of surveys, as well as their importance to patients.
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The Purpose of Accreditation
The primary purpose of accreditation performed by AAAHC is to improve the quality of healthcare services and the safety of patients in ambulatory centers. To achieve its purpose, AAAHC identifies, evaluates, reviews standards, and recommends evidence-based practices, which are critical in the delivery of healthcare to achieve quality outcomes and guarantee patient safety (AAAHC, 2010). Through its surveys, which are voluntary and consultative, AAAHC advises and accredits healthcare organizations. Owing to its diversity of healthcare professionals, AAAHC amasses its wealth of knowledge, experience, and resources and uses them in the development of updated standards. AAAHC also uses robust expertise in educating and training healthcare professionals to provide quality care and assure patient safety.
Quality of Care
The process of accreditation has enhanced the quality of care that patients receive from healthcare organizations because AAAHC reviews standards and recommend evidence-based practices. Accredited healthcare organizations provide the best care and assure the safety of patients because they adhere to strictest standards, apply evidence-based practices, and employ robust expertise. Recommendations by AAAHC have improved the quality of care in ambulatory surgery centers as indicated by enhanced patient outcomes and safety. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recognizes AAAHC as a reliable accreditor since it meets all conditions for coverage in ambulatory surgery centers. AAAHC improves quality of care by coordinating management, providing preventive care, improving access to care, offering quality services, reducing adverse events, and decreasing costs (AAAHC ROI survey, 2018). Hospitals that have achieved the accreditation provide quality care and generate better outcomes than uncredited ones.
Process of Accreditation
The process of accreditation in ambulatory care centers entails seven steps, namely review of standards, self-assessment, request for a survey, assessment of the survey request, preparation for the survey, performance of survey, and accreditation outcome (AAAHC, 2019). A healthcare organization that requires accreditation has to familiarize itself with the current standards of care by reviewing them in AAAHC Handbook. Subsequently, an organization undertakes self-assessment to determine if it can meet its stipulated standards before making an official request for AAAHC to carry out a survey. Upon receiving the request, AAAHC conducts reconnaissance to familiarize with the organization, estimate the number of surveyors required, approximate costs, and fix the date for the survey. The organization prepares for the survey by ensuring that it adheres to all standards before allowing AAAHC surveyors to conduct their assessment. Ultimately, AAAHC analyzes survey data and generate findings, which indicate the outcome of the accreditation process.
When they are surveying, AAAHC surveyors look for key standards, which covers numerous aspects of healthcare and meet Medicaid conditions for coverage (Bindman, 2018). These key standards are patient rights and responsibilities, governance, quality of care, quality management, health records, infection prevention, facilities, and environment. Moreover, it entails standards in the delivery of healthcare services, such as anesthesia, surgery, pharmacy, diagnosis, and radiology.
Validity of Standards
The analysis of key standards shows that they are rigorous and comprehensive because they cover a broad aspect of healthcare services in an organization. The standards cover patients, management, healthcare providers, facilities, and the environment. Additionally, these standards cover diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases.
Publication of Surveys
Since the purpose of the survey is marketing, healthcare organizations that meet and exceed key standards often publish their outcomes (Duhig, Saha, Smith, Kaufman, & Hughes, 2018). AAAHC publish outcomes of surveys in their websites by listing healthcare organizations that have received accreditation. Moreover, healthcare organizations display their accreditation certificates for patients to seek and make informed choices about their treatments.
Benefits of Publication
The publication of survey outcomes is important because it enables patients to assess the credibility of organizations and procure quality healthcare services. Consequently, patients would achieve quality services and improved outcomes, resulting in the reduction of morbidity and mortality rates. Additionally, the publication of survey data would enable patients to access healthcare services at reduced costs in line with the objective of managed care.
AAAHC plays a significant role in the accreditation of ambulatory care centers and the achievement of managed care. The primary purpose of AAAHC is to improve the quality of healthcare services, enhance patient outcomes, and assure safety. The process of accreditation comprises of review of standards, self-assessment, request for a survey, assessment of the survey request, preparation for the survey, performance of survey, and accreditation outcome. Key standards considered in the survey are rigorous because they cover numerous aspects of healthcare in an organization. AAAHC and healthcare organizations publish survey outcomes for patients to make appropriate choices when seeking medical services.
AAAHC ROI survey identifies reasons to seek accreditation. (2018). Healthcare Purchasing News, 42(3), 1-8. Web.
Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC). (2010). Introduction. Web.
Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC). (2019). Steps to accreditation. Web.
Bindman, A. (2018). Redesigning Medicaid managed care. Journal of the American Medical Association, 319(15), 1537-1538. Web.
Duhig, A., Saha, S., Smith, S., Kaufman, S., & Hughes, J. (2018). The current status of outcomes-based contracting for manufacturers and payers: An AMCP membership survey. Journal of Managed, 4(5), 410-415.