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8 Reasons Why Ambulatory Care Quality Matters More Than Ever

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, January 19, 2012

According to the AMA report, EHRs can maintain allergy lists, alert in cases of potential drug-drug or drug-allergy reactions, e-prescribe, provide a patient encounter summary after each visit the patient and family can refer to if memory of what was said fails.

5. Value-Based Purchasing Programs
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services must prepare a value-based purchasing incentive plan for ambulatory surgical centers, under provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010.

Last April, CMS said it intends to propose sometime this year a rule implementing an ambulatory surgical quality reporting program.  Eventually, it may reduce annual payments to facilities with higher rates of adverse events such as falls, wrong-site surgeries, surgical site infections, and blood clots. 

6. Infection Control Guidelines from the CDC
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in July issued a set of guidelines to prevent transmission of infectious diseases in ambulatory care settings through better hand hygiene protocols and personal protective equipment use among providers. The CDC called for a trained infection control professional to be on staff or regularly available in ambulatory care settings, and to help write infection control policy for the facility.

7. Follow Abnormal Test Results
An often overlooked category of serious adverse outcomes is when the physician neglects to tell the patient about an abnormal test result, delaying or preventing appropriate treatment. "Logistical barriers may also impede prompt follow-up on the part of patients if they are not able to receive timely appointments or obtain the requisite insurance coverage for recommended tests," the AMA report says.

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