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Get the Most Out of Your Ambulatory Accreditation


The outside of a medical building that has a "outpatient" sign on the left of the building and a "surgery" sign on the right.

By Zach George, MBA, CPA, Executive Director, Ambulatory Care Services, The Joint Commission 

I wanted to take the opportunity to introduce myself as the new Executive Director of Ambulatory Care Services at The Joint Commission. I am no stranger to The Joint Commission. Previously, I was the Director of Hospital Certification and also led business development for hospital, ambulatory, urgent care and other settings at The Joint Commission. 

Since my appointment, I have been heavily involved in business development, strategic planning and overall product line development for Ambulatory Care Services. This has brought me up to speed and helped me identify three key priority areas for the ambulatory program: 

  1. Ensure the most relevant and useful evidence-based standards are offered across all domains of ambulatory care to have the most impact on patient safety and quality of care. Late last year, we announced that 20 requirements were being deleted from the ambulatory program to help make them as efficient and impactful as possible. 
  2. Customize on-site surveys, including the use of specialized surveyors, to ensure the most productive assessments and improvement-oriented experiences occur – allowing for more relevant dialogue between ambulatory organizations and surveyors. 
  3. Establish ambulatory accreditation as a proactive, long-term relationship based on continuous and sustainable performance improvement.

In addition to these priority areas, it is essential The Joint Commission continues to provide top-notch support and resources to our accredited ambulatory organizations. I believe this is what makes The Joint Commission accreditation process so impactful. 

Person-to-Person Support
As I continue to meet leaders and staff from ambulatory organizations, I hear more and more about how The Joint Commission provides exceptional person-to-person support throughout the entire accreditation process.

This is something that starts day one for prospective customers through conversations with our business development team. Then, once an ambulatory organization begins the accreditation process, we continue to connect them with key contacts along the way, including: 

  • Standards Interpretation Group: Provides support to interpret and apply specific ambulatory standards.  
  • Assigned Account Executive: Primary contact to answer questions about survey preparation, ensures all necessary documentation is ready prior to survey and more. 
  • Specialized surveyors: Offer real-time, evaluative feedback and share best practices to help organizations improve quality and safety.  
  • Joint Commission Connect®: A personalized extranet site to support organizations, including helpful resources and critical updates to maintain accreditation expectations. 

The Joint Commission provides its accredited ambulatory organizations with the most comprehensive catalogue of resources and tools to help them achieve success. Key resources include:

  • Readiness Roadmap: Helps organizations better locate available resources for survey based on where they are in the accreditation process. Features several resources sorted by category, including checklists, crosswalks, webinars and videos.  
  • Survey Analysis for Evaluating Risk® (SAFER™) Matrix: Provides organizations with the information they need to prioritize resources and focus corrective action plans in areas that are in most need of compliance activities and interventions. 
  • DASH™ (Data Analytics for Safe Healthcare): A collection of dashboards to help accredited organizations make informed decisions based on performance measurement data and aggregate survey findings. 

Additionally, we provide ongoing communication about current quality and safety issues, as well as new requirements through Sentinel Event Alerts, Quick Safety advisories, R3 Reports, newsletters and more. Sign up for E-Alerts to stay up to date on the latest news and information from The Joint Commission. 

The in-depth support and resources we provide contribute to the overall goal of accreditation – to deliver tangible and intangible returns. We understand that resources are tight for many organizations across healthcare settings, so we want to ensure Joint Commission accreditation provides a worthwhile return on investment. 

Let’s Collaborate  
Accreditation is about collaboration. Our accredited organizations know that we frequently ask them for feedback about proposed requirements and changes to our programs. And, to further this collaboration, I encourage you to with any questions about how The Joint Commission can work with your ambulatory organization to help tackle its unique quality and safety challenges.

Zach George, MBA, CPA, is Executive Director of Ambulatory Care Services at The Joint Commission. In this role, Zach oversees business development, strategic planning and overall product development for Ambulatory Care Services. Prior to this role, George was the Director of Hospital Certification and also led business development and strategic initiatives for several healthcare settings, including hospital, ambulatory, urgent care and more. In his prior roles at The Joint Commission, George collaborated with several stakeholders on certification programs, including the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and its American Spine Registry, the American Heart Association (AHA), American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and more. George currently serves as a board member of the ASC Quality Collaboration (ASC QC) which develops, measures and publicly reports national ambulatory surgery center (ASC) quality data.