New AHRQ Toolkit Helps Improve Patient Safety in Ambulatory Surgery Centers

Issue 566
AHRQ News Now is a weekly newsletter that highlights agency research and program activities.
May 9, 2017

AHRQ Stats: Patterns in Office-Based Medical Care

Among people with a usual doctor's office to visit for medical care in 2015, a majority visited an independent physician practice (55 percent). Others visited a hospital-owned physician network (19 percent) or a nonprofit or government clinic (17 percent). (Source: AHRQ, Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Statistical Brief #502: Characteristics of Practices Used as Usual Source of Care Providers during 2015 – Results from the MEPS Medical Organizations Survey.)

Today's Headlines:

New AHRQ Toolkit Helps Improve Patient Safety in Ambulatory Surgery Centers

A new AHRQ toolkit is available to help ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) make care safer for their patients. The Toolkit To Improve Safety in Ambulatory Surgery Centers helps these facilities implement and sustain cultural and technical interventions surrounding the safe surgery checklist, which ASCs should use during three critical perioperative periods for all patients. The toolkit incorporates the proven principles and methods of AHRQ's Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program with guidance, tools and training materials to support change on the front lines of care. Topics such as teamwork and communication, coaching clinical teams, patient and family engagement, and sustainability are included in the toolkit. Additional resources focus on infection prevention and endoscopy. The toolkit, which links to AHRQ's Ambulatory Surgery Center Survey on Patient Safety Culture, was developed based on the experiences of 665 ASCs that participated in the AHRQ Safety Program for Ambulatory Surgery Centers project. A blog by AHRQ's Dr. Jeffrey Brady provides more detail on the new toolkit.

Program Designed To Reduce Readmissions Imposed Significant Penalties on Hospitals Treating Disadvantaged Patients

Hospitals that treat large numbers of disadvantaged patients received significant financial penalties because they did not meet goals set by the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP), a part of the Affordable Care Act, an AHRQ study found. The analysis, published in the May issue of Health Affairs, found that financial penalties that hospitals endured under the HRRP limited the ability of those hospitals to engage in quality improvement efforts to reduce those penalties. The HRRP began imposing penalties in October 2012 on hospitals with higher-than-expected readmissions for heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia among fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries. Previous research indicated that hospitals have been successful overall in reducing readmissions under the HRRP. This study found that in the first five years of the program, more than half of hospitals received penalties, which totaled $1.9 billion. But the penalty burden was greater among safety net hospitals that treated larger shares of Medicare or disadvantaged patients; were urban, large and for-profit; and had a major teaching component. Access the abstract.

Highlights From AHRQ's Patient Safety Network

AHRQ's Patient Safety Network (PSNet) highlights journal articles, books and tools related to patient safety. Articles featured this week include:

Review additional new publications in PSNet's current issue or access recent cases and commentaries in AHRQ's WebM&M (Morbidity and Mortality Rounds on the Web).

Deadline Extended to May 19 for Responses to Survey About Diagnostic Safety Tools

The Coalition to Improve Diagnosis (CID) has extended the deadline until May 19 for survey responses to identify effective tools or interventions to improve diagnostic performance or reduce harm associated with diagnostic error. AHRQ, which has been a government partner of the coalition since 2015, hosted a summit on diagnostic safety in 2016 and is continuing to fund research on the topic. CID is comprised of more than 20 professional societies and was established to bring awareness, attention and action to the problem of diagnostic error. The CID survey asks for input on existing tools to improve diagnosis in health care.

Apply by June 2 for Summer TeamSTEPPS® Advanced Courses

Apply now for your team to attend one of AHRQ's no-cost TeamSTEPPS Advanced Courses at regional training centers. Applications are due by June 2 for courses in July and August. TeamSTEPPS is AHRQ's training curriculum to improve teamwork and communication among health care professionals with the goal of enhancing patient safety. Access more information about available courses, guidelines and the application process.

Featured Case Study: AHRQ Project Helps University of Rochester Address Seniors' Mental Health Needs

Telehealth sessions based on the AHRQ-funded Project ECHO® model helped New York State primary care clinicians provide mental health treatment to elderly patients in rural areas. The initiative also reduced emergency department costs by 24 percent since 2014 at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Access the Impact Case Study.

AHRQ in the Professional Literature

Validation and calibration of structural models that combine information from multiple sources. Dahabreh IJ, Wong JB, Trikalinos TA. Expert Rev Pharmacoecon Outcomes Res 2017 Feb;17(1):27-37. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Health extension and clinical and translational science: an innovative strategy for community engagement. Kaufman A, Rhyne RL, Anastasoff J, et al. J Am Board Fam Med 2017 1/2;30(1):94-9. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Age-related disparities in trauma center access for severe head injuries following the release of the updated field triage guidelines. Flottemesch TJ, Raetzman S, Heslin KC, et al. Acad Emerg Med 2017 Apr;24(4):447-57. Epub 2017 Mar 17. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Kidney exchange to overcome financial barriers to kidney transplantation. Rees MA, Dunn TB, Kuhr CS, et al. Am J Transplant 2017 Mar;17(3):782-90. Epub 2016 Dec 19. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Derivation of decision rules to predict clinically important outcomes in acute flank pain patients. Wang RC, Rodriguez RM, Fahimi J, et al. Am J Emerg Med 2017 Apr;35(4):554-63. Epub 2016 Dec 11. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

A pediatric approach to ventilator-associated events surveillance. Cocoros NM, Priebe GP, Logan LK, et al. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2017 Mar;38(3):327-33. Epub 2016 Dec 5. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Improving communication and resolution following adverse events using a patient-created simulation exercise. Gallagher TH, Etchegaray JM, Bergstedt B, et al. Health Serv Res 2016 Dec;51 Suppl 3:2537-49. Epub 2016 Oct 28. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Case outcomes in a communication-and-resolution program in New York hospitals. Mello MM, Greenberg Y, Senecal SK, et al. Health Serv Res 2016 Dec;51 Suppl 3:2583-99. Epub 2016 Oct 26. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Contact Information

For comments or questions about AHRQ News Now, contact Bruce Seeman at or (301) 427-1998 .

Update your subscriptions, modify your password or email address, or stop subscriptions at any time on your Subscriber Preferences Page. You will need to use your email address to log in.

If you have any questions or problems with the subscription service, email: For other inquiries, Contact Us.

This service is provided to you at no charge by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

Page last reviewed May 2017
Page originally created May 2017
Internet Citation: New AHRQ Toolkit Helps Improve Patient Safety in Ambulatory Surgery Centers. Content last reviewed May 2017. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.
Back To Top