(BPT) - By Patricia L. Turner, MD, MBA, FACS, Executive Director & CEO, The American College of Surgeons
Navigating healthcare is a complex endeavor and knowing where to find high-quality surgical care can be an intimidating task. The American College of Surgeons (ACS) makes it easier for patients and families to find hospitals that meet high-quality evidence-based standards and consistently deliver better surgical outcomes.
For more than 110 years, the ACS has been setting standards for the care of surgical patients around the world. Surgeons who are Fellows of the ACS — designated by the letters “FACS” after their name — undergo careful review before attaining this distinction. In a similar way, hospitals that participate in 13 different quality programs submit themselves to detailed scrutiny to earn ACS accreditation or verification.
Meeting the rigorous qualifications of our programs is extremely difficult. Hospitals that achieve this distinguished status earn the designation of ACS Surgical Quality Partner and can proudly display the ACS Diamond in their hospitals.
ACS Quality Programs encompass care in a variety of specialties including cancer, trauma, bariatric, vascular and emergency surgery, among others. We also help hospitals deliver better care to specific populations such as children and older adults. For example, delirium is a frequent complication for older adults and our Geriatric Surgery Verification program equips hospitals with strategies and tools to reduce the risk delirium poses. This can lead to shorter hospital stays and higher success in achieving a patient’s care goals. Our Children’s Surgery Verification program ensures that hospitals take into account the different requirements for delivering the best care to our youngest patients.
The ACS Commission on Cancer and our quality programs in breast and rectal cancer guide hospitals in building team-based approaches to care, centering patient needs and adhering to the latest and best practices in cancer care. The ACS Committee on Trauma sets standards to ensure that hospitals are well prepared to care for injured patients, especially during those critical early moments that can mean the difference between survival and death. Patients treated at ACS-verified trauma centers have demonstrably higher survival rates than those treated at non-verified hospitals.
Through our ACS Power of Quality campaign, we are working to help patients find the best care for themselves and their loved ones. We understand the importance of being treated at hospitals that demonstrate a deep commitment to quality. Our hospital finder provides patients with information on more than 2,500 hospitals nationwide that have earned the distinguished ACS Surgical Quality Partner Diamond by participating in one or more of our programs.
Together, these hospitals and our more than 90,000 ACS members have made the professional commitment to putting quality at the forefront of all that they do. The next time you or a loved one need surgical care, seek out a surgeon with the FACS designation and a hospital displaying the ACS Surgical Quality Partner Diamond; you can feel confident about the quality of your care.
Patricia L. Turner is the Executive Director & CEO of The American College of Surgeons, the largest professional association of surgeons in the world, founded in 1913.