May 5, 2023

Five tips to preparing for emergency outpatient surgery

Editor's Note

The Joint Commission’s Ambulatory Buzz on April 24 published five precautionary tips for ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) to implement in order to “respond quickly and effectively” to emergencies during outpatient surgery.

They are:

  1. Establish a culture of safety.
  2. Prior to a surgical procedure, conduct a comprehensive physical examination and medical history. (Joint Commission standards require a comprehensive assessment of a surgical patient’s physical condition and their medical history, including an evaluation of changes to health or medical history that may affect the procedure.)
  3. Test emergency equipment and have access to emergency supplies and medications. (Additionally, the ASCs should have access to a sufficient inventory of blood products and appropriate emergency medications.)
  4. Regularly assess staff competencies.
  5. Perform drills or practice tabletop exercises in response to identified risks and what-if scenarios (eg, develop ways to mitigate risks).

According to Ambulatory Buzz, “well over 100 million outpatient surgeries” are performed in the US. Preparing for emergencies “can help instill agility and readiness in ASCs and their staff” and be “the difference between a successful outcome or a sentinel event.”

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