The Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC) is focusing on site marking and high alert/confused drug name medications as part of new standards released in July and that are set to take effect on Nov. 1.

“We encourage organizations to conduct a thorough review of the changes to the standards and a gap analysis to ensure they are in full compliance by that effective date,” says Hallie Brewer, CA-AM, senior vice president of learning and development for AAAHC. Brewer lists several noteworthy changes to the accreditation standards in version 41 (v41) of the AAAHC Accreditation Handbook for Ambulatory Health Care and the Accreditation Handbook for Medicare Deemed Status:

Site marking (10.1N and 10.I.O). Requirements for procedure verification and site marking have been divided into separate standards. Now, it is possible for someone other than the person performing the procedure to mark the site. This is a revision.

High alert/confused drug name medications (11.F). This requires monitoring the presence or absence of high alert medications and medications with confused drug names, such as lookalike and sound-alike names. This is a new standard.

Vaccine management (11.N). This standard requires organizations to handle and store vaccines in accordance with nationally recognized guidelines. This is a new standard.

Pathology and medical laboratory services. These changes include a new standard for proficiency testing if required by Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA), a CLIA Accrediting Organization, the state, and/or the organization’s own policies. This is a revision. AAAHC’s release of new and revised standards is part of the organization’s tradition of ensuring ambulatory health sites can access relevant standards and education for improvement of their patient care environment, Brewer says.

“We update our standards regularly to reflect proven developments in medicine, technology, and specialty practice,” she says. “The v41 provides a seamless transition for quality improvement efforts.”

More information about the new standards is detailed in the AAAHC webinar “Moving Forward with Enhanced v41 Standards.” AAAHC will host a virtual conference, with an in-depth review of standards and tips for how to prepare for accreditation, in September 2020 (formal date to be announced).