Principles of Institutional Infection Control
February 2, 2015
Patient Safety Paper
JCAHO is an autonomous and not-for-profit organization that certifies and accredits at least 19,000 healthcare programs, facilities and organizations in the US. Certification and accreditation awarded by JCAHO is acknowledged nationally as a mark of quality reflecting its commitment towards achieving certain quality and performance standards. JCAHO has the duty of enhancing healthcare for Americans through partnerships with other stakeholders and evaluation of healthcare organizations and encouraging them to embark on the provision of effective and safe healthcare of premier value and quality (Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations). JCAHO has its headquarters in Terrace, Illinois and has at least 1000 surveyors comprising of nurses, physicians, administrators of hospitals and healthcare organizations, physicians and various healthcare professionals trained and qualified to assess precise components of quality of healthcare. The purpose of JCAHO is to ensure that every individual receive superior quality, safest and preeminent-value healthcare in all settings.
JCAHO deploys various methods to guarantee the quality of healthcare using efforts aimed at standardizing and evaluating healthcare delivery in hospitals. First, JCAHO ensures quality healthcare by evaluating and providing accreditation to laboratories in hospitals, psychiatric facilities, long-term healthcare organizations, community mental health programs and drug abuse programs. Since its establishment, the scope of accreditation has expanded to include managed care and ambulatory care organizations, preferred provider organizations, healthcare networks and managed behavioral healthcare centers. Second, JCAHO ensures quality healthcare through the establishment and emphasis on performance improvement standards and compelled hospitals to ban smoking within their facilities. This is achieved using random surveys to the accredited healthcare organizations. JCAHO also ensures quality healthcare delivery by compelling accredited healthcare organizations to report and probe factors contributing to medical errors, and formulate corrective and preventive measures. Other methods deployed by JCAHO to foster quality healthcare delivery include establishing survey and standards requirements for healthcare facilities.
The JCAHO is responsible for the National Patient Safety Goals for hospitals which are designed to promote patient safety. The main focus is on problems in healthcare safety and how to solve them. The Joint Commission developed the first set of National Patient Safety Goals (NPSGs) in 2002, with implementation in January 2003. Goal 1 Improve the accuracy of patient identification. Using two patient identifiers such as patients name and date of birth makes sure the right patients is getting the correct treatment, medications, blood products and transfusions. Most hospitals have equipment in place that scans the patient’s armbands. This also lets the nurse or health care worker know they have the right patient. Goal 2 Improve the effectiveness of communication among caregivers. Communication and teamwork go hand in hand with regard to patient safety. Communication is a two-way street. Differences in knowledge, perceptions, and decisions frequently surface when people communicate. This can cause disagreement, misunderstanding, and conflict. Having a standard policy in place for hand-off communication with staff at the change of shift. Making sure there is communication with another doctor that is providing care for the same patient. Also patient education at discharge regarding diagnoses, treatments, medications, and lab results.
Goal 3 Improve the safety of using medications. Making sure all medications are labeled with correct information and kept where medications are set up.