March 7, 2019

Assessing and Addressing Educational Needs in ASCs

By: Claire Everson, RN, CNOR, CCAP, Education Coordinator

When considering educational needs in an ASC, you may have an advantage over your hospital peers. Many ASCs have specialty-specific physicians and patient populations, whereas other ASCs will have a more diverse physician group and patients. Regardless of facility specialty, employees are likely to have multiple generational learning styles.

All surveying bodies for deemed status like to see the use of Learning Needs Assessments.  A Learning Needs Assessment is a systematic approach to examining what individuals or groups need to learn, and it helps to define continuing education needs.  Remember, informal learning needs assessments are acceptable, but it is still a good idea to at least have them noted in some way for future surveys and even more importantly for communication with your medical, patient care, and business office staff.

Examples of criteria that may call for conducting a new Learning Needs Assessment include:

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  1. When a new physician joins the staff.
  2. When a current physician performs a new procedure with a different patient population.
  3. When a new procedure is performed that involves unfamiliar equipment, medications, DRGs, billing codes, etc.
  4. When a procedure may not have changed, but equipment or medication changes have occurred because of best practices.
  5. Best practice changes are frequently cyclical as many specialty organizations have groups constantly reviewing literature, doing research, or creating new recommendations.  For instance, every five years, the American Heart Association has new recommendations, based on science and evidence, for Basic and Advanced Cardiac Life Support.
  6. State health departments may also change rules, regulations, standards, or practices with the expectation that the ASC is aware of the changes and is providing the information to its medical, patient care, and business office staff.

It may be helpful to anticipate some of the issues identified in numbers 4, 5, and 6 by monitoring

  1. State Department of Health regulations
  2. State hospital associations
  3. Federal websites
  4. Regulatory websites
  5. Specialty medical and nursing organization websites, journals, and online journals.
  6. E-newsletters

Utilize the knowledge of your business partners, healthcare industry reps, or vendors.  By building a strong professional relationship with these individuals, you can avoid getting a constant sales pitch and instead develop a collaborative approach as the industry evolves.  Some things to consider:

  1. What has a physician expressed interest in, whether it occurred at your ASC or elsewhere?
  2. What improved best practice or evidence-based practice educational material have they developed?
  3. Have initial education or annual reviews been included in service contracts?
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