New standards that reflect technological advances and take into account communicating patient responsibility have been adopted by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, a Skokie, Ill.-based organization that certifies some 3,600 ambulatory or office-based surgery and endoscopy centers, college student healthcare centers, and large medical and dental practices.
These revisions will be included in the 2008 edition of the associations
Accreditation Handbook for Ambulatory Care, and will include new standards for laser technology and radiation oncology as well as new requirements for protecting healthcare workers from biological hazards and exposure to harmful chemicals.
The new standards are developed using feedback from surveyors in the field, association members and other organizations, said Michon Villanueva AAAHC assistant director of accreditation services.
The new standards also spell out what responsibilities should be communicated to patients. These include telling patients to give providers a compete and accurate medical history; reveal all medications, over-the-counter products, herbal remedies and dietary supplements they regularly use; adhere to their doctors treatment plan; agree to pay expenses not covered by insurance; inform their doctors about any living will, power of attorney or advance directives; and to be respectful of healthcare professionals and other patients.
Villanueva added that organizations should have some mechanisms in place for what to dosuch as transfer to another organizationif patients do not adhere to the responsibilities communicated to them. She explained that there is no current objective to accredit patients in some fashion or for using these standards as a shield for providers to use in a malpractice lawsuit if, for example, a bad outcome could be traced back to patients not living up to their prescribed responsibilities.
This is about ensuring safety of patients, Villanueva said, adding that the objective is to get organizations to communicate clearly to patients that this is what we need your help in doing so you get the best care possible.
The 2008 handbook will be available for $165 starting Feb. 1 from the associations Web site. -- by Andis Robeznieks
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