Quality Improvement for Institutions
www.cvquality.acc.org

Accreditation Services

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Frequently Asked Questions
 

We currently offer:

Cardiac Cath Lab Accreditation

Chest Pain Center Accreditation

Chest Pain Center Certification

Electrophysiology Accreditation

Heart Failure Accreditation

Transcatheter Valve Certification

 

Learn more about our accreditations and certifications for CV service lines and procedures.

Most facilities assign a dedicated RN to its CV accreditation program. This individual will be the lead contact for an accreditation or certification program and will work directly with the Accreditation Review Specialist that we assign to a facility. Of course, many other individuals will be key participants in the achievement of accreditation as it is designed to be a multi-disciplinary team effort.

In many cases, the data that supports an accreditation or certification is drawn from an NCDR registry. Details about which NCDR registries pair with which accreditations or when a facility may elect to use an alternative database that integrates with our online accreditation or certification “tool” is discussed ahead of program implementation.

The timeline for accreditation varies by facility. In general, most facilities are able to complete accreditation in 12 months or less. And certifications are generally achievable in six months or less.

The benefits of accreditation are significant and can be measured in many ways. Hospitals that are intent on connecting quality and cost with outcomes and patient satisfaction look to the College to help them create cardiovascular communities of excellence. Achieving accreditation status improves a hospital's productivity, patient throughput, and the quality and consistency of care. In short, it better positions a hospital as a preferred provider of cardiovascular care.

ACC's role, as a valued partner, is to advance the quality improvement efforts of every facility. Our focus is to provide participating facilities with the care processes that are designed to steadily improve outcomes. Each facility we work with is assigned a dedicated Accreditation Review Specialist. As we gain knowledge in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, we share that knowledge with those who seek accreditation or certification. Collegiality and collaboration have long been considered the hallmark characteristics of our organization.

Earning an accreditation or a certification requires the formal demonstration and validation of quality improvement. It is a multi-step approach that begins with assessing the effectiveness and efficiency of your current processes and leads to a roadmap for future CV health strategies. In short, ACC accredits hospitals that have adopted, adhered to, and achieved best-in-class standards of care related to the treatment of cardiovascular disease.

Randy Harmon, MBA

Randy Harmon, MBA
ACC Accreditation Services

A. The intent of the health system wide Accreditation approach is for hospitals to come to the table and collaborate on building better synchronized system-wide processes, using the Accreditation tool as the road map. It is a way of knocking down walls and silos at the system level as each facility simultaneously pursues accreditation. Over the last five years, more and more health systems are pursuing Accreditation in this manner. In addition to optimizing patient outcomes and financial performance, health systems have found that this approach to Accreditation:

  • Decreases variation in care across all participating entities
  • Reinforces corporate commitment and accountability
  • Spotlights each facility's performance metrics and provides greater ability to benchmark
  • Streamlines cardiac care and creates a patient experience reflective of your organization regardless of which facility the patient presents

ACC has worked with health system cohorts ranging from three to forty facilities at a time as they understand how to scale the adoption of process improvement techniques across multiple facilities working in unison. An added benefit is to have the same Accreditation Review Specialist (ARS) guiding each hospital throughout the system on the Accreditation journey to optimize success. The ARS can help identify where there are differences between hospitals and how to better align processes.

Joe Connors, M.Ed

Joe Connors, M.Ed
Business Development Associate, ACC Accreditation Services

A. The ACC designed our service line accreditation programs with a collaborative mindset. We view the accreditation experience as an interactive partnership rather than an "audit" or a simple checklist for hospitals to complete on their own. I believe this is one distinct factor that separates us from other accrediting bodies. From the onset of accreditation, you will receive one-on-one navigation and guidance from an Accreditation Review Specialist (ARS). Their role is to assist hospitals throughout the entire process. Through support of your multidisciplinary team, the ARS ensures guideline-based medicine is embedded into bedside protocols. They support the identification of process improvement initiatives that strengthen the cardiac program with the aim to enhance patient outcomes and revenue growth. Finally, the ARS will verify your supporting documents meet accreditation requirements of each Essential Component for success.

With the ACC, you are not simply purchasing a manual with the mandatory requirements to earn accreditation. You receive an online tool which contains guidance statements, shared practices from other accredited facilities, and numerous resources that provide the justification and science behind the requirements. The online tool is essentially the hub for your robust CV program and ensures your team stays up to date on the latest evidence-based science and best practices. I believe the abundance of resources and tools to assist with the accreditation process separates us from other organizations. Pursuing accreditation allows you to partner with the premier cardiac professional society, granting access to the wealth of knowledge and expertise that is the American College of Cardiology.

Joe Connors, M.Ed

Joe Connors, M.Ed
Business Development Associate, ACC Accreditation Services

A. Saving lives, preventing irreparable heart damage, and improving the CV patient's quality of life are the absolute fundamentals of Accreditation. The net of improved CV outcomes means your facility can also measure success in terms of improved patient satisfaction and outcomes; a multi-disciplinary team approach to treatment; a precise CV care strategy; reduced risk and liability; and maximized reimbursements for CV treatment and procedures.

Through the appropriate assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of all patient populations, we aim to lower the length of stay, which ultimately provides lower cost of care per hour and opportunity for increased throughput and volume. Let's look at Chest Pain Center Accreditation for this question. Observation is an area of focus within this initiative. Each provider manages the Low-Risk population differently. These variances in diagnostic processes can lead to prolonged length of stay (LOS), which clearly has financial implications for the hospital. Designated pathways for Low-Risk chest pain patients must include appropriate risk-stratification and patient shared decision-making. Research shows not every patient presenting with possible Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS) is a candidate for non-invasive ischemia evaluation or needs to be managed in an observation setting. Developing a dedicated chest pain observation order set with clear inclusion and exclusion criteria will serve to streamline this population pathway. Also, operationalizing appropriate use criteria for such evaluations is instrumental in aligning test selection with patients. All of this is addressed within the online Accreditation/Certification tool with the intention of streamlined patient care to ensure continuous positive clinical trajectory and throughput to reduce the LOS. This is one of many examples across ACC's suite of CV service line offerings.


ACC Accreditation Services is Your Partner for QI

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