Last week I traveled to Washington, D.C., with Adelisa Perez-Hudgins, our Director of Quality, to attend the kickoff meeting of Leapfrog’s Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC) Advisory Committee, which I chair. This was our first in-person gathering, and it provided us with an opportunity to get to know each other, share our perspectives, and to reaffirm our work to advance patient safety in surgeries that take place beyond hospital walls.
Leapfrog launched the ASC Survey in 2019, recognizing that more than 60 percent of surgeries in the United States are now performed in hospital outpatient units or ASCs. The goal of the survey is to provide consumers, employers, and other purchasers with user friendly information to compare the safety of procedures regardless of whether they are offered at a hospital or an ASC. Completing the survey also enables ASCs to benchmark their quality against their peers, and to use the survey as a patient safety improvement tool to continue their drive for excellence.
In New Jersey, we have 100 percent participation in the Leapfrog Hospital Survey, and we know that public reporting advances safety and quality. We need the same transparency for the many patients who have surgeries in ASCs. A goal of our gathering last week was to share Leapfrog’s plans for the survey and to discuss how we can collectively encourage more ASCs to voluntarily report.
Our committee includes clinical and administrative leaders of ASCs as well as owners; about 65 percent of ASCs are physician owned. Our committee is comprised of nurses, physicians, and others with deep experience in quality improvement, safety, infectious diseases, and health administration. Equally important, all are patient advocates committed to safety and quality. They come from around the nation.
The ASC Survey, created with the guidance of expert panelists, assesses the safety and quality of ASCs based on national, evidence-based measures that are of specific interest to employers, health care purchasers, and consumers. Survey results are publicly reported, and provide ASCs with information to benchmark their progress in improving the care they deliver.
New Jersey hospitals have seen the value of participating in the Leapfrog Hospital Survey, and many have been able to highlight their excellence to their communities. ASCs can do the same. I see the ASC survey as just the beginning of widespread consumer transparency on ASCs and greater understanding of the level of quality they can provide to their patients. The survey sets the foundation and starts with basic reporting data that aligns with other ASC quality and safety programs.
For the 2021 Survey in New Jersey, all hospital outpatient departments reported their safety, but less than 1% of the eligible ASCs did. We thank those transparent, dedicated leaders and ask the others to join them when the 2022 survey opens on April 1.
I’m asking our members, partners, and consumers across the Garden State to check whether the ASCs you contract with or consider using are reporting to Leapfrog. If they are, express your thanks and support for their commitment to transparency. If not, ask them to start reporting. For more information, they can reach out to Leapfrog, or to us. Transparency about safety and quality should not be contingent on where the care takes place.