Ambulatory Buzz

Information on all things ambulatory from The Joint Commission

Best of AmBuzz in 2019


By Mike Dye, Senior Specialist, Business Development

Each year your Ambulatory Care Program colleagues review all our AmBuzz posting to select those blogs that received the most views for the year. The AmBuzz blogs shared below achieved that honor in 2019:

Eight Questions for In-Patient Dialysis Safety Checks
Feb. 2, 2019
By Erin Bumpas, MBA, MHA, Hospital Services Administrator, DaVita Kidney Care

Current, best-demonstrated practices for in-patient dialysis now also include a time-out safety check protocol to prevent wrong-site, wrong-procedure and wrong-person surgeries—ultimately, reducing the risk of irreparable, life-threatening mistakes.  I’m sure we all agree, time-outs should be universally adopted for every dialysis and apheresis patient, every treatment, every time. Actually, this process – which includes details specific to dialysis – can also be generalized to other specialties.

Top 10 Most Challenging Ambulatory Care and Office-Based Surgery Standards for 2018
Apr. 15, 2019
By Joyce Webb, Project Director, Division of Standards & Survey Methods

It’s April, it’s spring and… it’s time for The Joint Commission to share the Top 10 Challenging Standards for accredited Ambulatory Health Care (AHC) organizations and Office-Based Surgery (OBS) practices for 2018. The Joint Commission regularly analyzes standards compliance data to help identify the most common challenges impacting AHC and OBS customers. Our aim is to recognize compliance trends and help accredited organizations – or those seeking accreditation – better understand, prepare for, and address standards compliance challenges. 

AHRQ Update: Focus on Patient Safety – Improving Diagnosis
May 15, 2019
By Gerry Castro, PhD, MPH, Project Director, Patient Safety Initiatives

A diagnostic error is defined by the Committee as “the failure to (a) establish an accurate and timely explanation of the patient’s health problem(s) or (b) communicate that explanation to the patient.” The Joint Commission discusses this issue in depth in Quick Safety, Issue Nine: “Preventing Delays in Treatment”.  The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) reports diagnostic errors affect more than 12 million Americans each year and may seriously harm approximately 4 million.  

Managing High-Alert/Hazardous and Look-Alike-Sound-Alike Medications in Ambulatory Care Settings
July 8, 2019
By Bobby Hurt, Field Representative, Division of Accreditation and Certification Services Operations

High-alert and hazardous medications bear a heightened risk or cause significant patient harm and/or sentinel events when they are used in error and, as a result, require special safeguards. Look-alike/sound-alike (LASA) medications are those, either written or spoken, which may lead to potentially harmful errors when confused with each other.

In my work as a Joint Commission ambulatory care surveyor, I see so much confusion in a variety of ambulatory settings about “High-Alert/Hazardous”  and “Look-Alike, Sound-Alike” medications (LASA) and how to comply with these critical expectations.  So, I thought I’d share some helpful tips that will help you address this important medication management issue.

Direct Oral Anticoagulant Management Best Practices for Ambulatory Care
Nov. 13, 2019
By Helen Larios, MBA, MSN, RN, project director-clinical, Standards and Survey Methods 

For outpatient settings, direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) – medications that keep blood from clotting – consistently rank as the class of medications most frequently leading to emergency room visits and hospital admissions for adverse drug events (ADEs).  Overall, anticoagulants are the second highest medications involved in error incidents causing death or serious harm. Risks for patients on DOACs can be avoided with appropriate and timely treatment.