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Preparing for the new Advanced Certification in Spine Surgery

In 2021, the Joint Commission kicked off its new Advanced Certification in Spine Surgery program (ACSS); they are committed to recognizing organizations delivering the highest quality spine care and helping to elevate their services “with the evidence-based proof of clinical quality sought by patients and payors alike.”

To best support our partners in achieving Advanced Certification, the Force team attended the Joint Commission’s ACSS workshop to ensure we stay abreast of best practices and program guidelines.

As organizations start to plan for Advanced Certification, it’s important to understand the joint commission spine certification program’s central requirements. To help guide these efforts, we’ve outlined below our key takeaways from the Joint Commission’s workshop.

Furthermore, as we’ve seen from over 10 years of assisting our partners in applying for and achieving Advanced Orthopedic Certifications, it’s essential to have a validated technology partner that can help satisfy data and reporting requirements, standardize care delivery, and offer expert advice throughout the process.

Standardized Care is a Must-Have

  1. Providing clinical care consistent with evidence-based practice is at the heart of the ACSS program. Eligible spine programs (those completing 200 or more surgeries per year) must demonstrate standardized care delivery, meet rigorous data collection and reporting requirements, and participate in the American Spine Registry (ASR).
  2. Force is well-equipped to help our partners meet these requirements. At the heart of Force is our commitment and proven ability to help standardize and improve patient care and outcomes: we do this by scaling the patient experience with automated touch points and clinically-validated care pathways, which in turn frees up FTE resources to care for patients who truly need individual attention.

Performance Measures and Registry Requirements

  1. Programs also need to adopt the Joint Commissions’ spine-specific performance measures; among these measures are pre- and post-op PROs, including PROMIS, VR-12, Oswestry Disability Index, and Neck Disability Index. Data collection for ACSS needs to begin at least 4 months prior to the onsite review, so it’s critical that spine programs start to assess their PROs collection capabilities now.
  2. Today, Force is already collecting these core outcomes forms to provide our partners with ample insights into their outcomes and areas for care improvement, and to ensure their eligibility for certification programs and national programs of distinction. As an example, read how Northwell leverage our software and services to receive six Advanced Certification sites.
  3. Another key component of ACSS is the American Spine Registry (ASR). The national spine registery's goal is to collect unique clinical data demonstrating real-world spine practice to drive high-quality, high-value care. In the future, Force will be able to ship level III patient-reported data directly to the ASR to strengthen these efforts on behalf of our partners. The added benefit of submitting PROs to ASR is that it will also help programs further qualify for national distinction programs (like Aetna or Blue Distinction) and Medicare programs, such as BPCI-A.

Preparing for the ACSS Onsite Review

  1. As spine registries move beyond Core Certification, they’re required to complete an two-day, onsite review to assess compliance and risk, encourage improvements, and work towards "becoming a highly-reliable organization that provides consistently safe, high-quality care to every patient, every time.” Throughout the review, “tracers” follow patients through each phase of care to understand the program’s unique pathways and processes; they pay close attention to care uniformity, education across the episode, and shared decision-making, among others.
  2. Force has supported many onsite total joint replacement reviews, and we’re eager to help our partners meet the same success with ACSS. Force helps enable a successful review because we impact a number of points that “tracers” look for, from facilitating patient decision involvement by tracking patients' personal goals, to standardizing discharge planning by virtually delivering discharge education to patients in the platform. By integrating Force across the entire continuum of care, our partners are able to demonstrate to the Joint Commission their ongoing commitment to quality virtual care and superior outcomes.

To learn how Force can help your organization with achieving Advanced Certification, complete the form below.

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