Health Care Issues
The Joint Commission has required disaster planning for more than 30 years. Its standards provide a framework for comprehensive emergency management. The standards require organizations to identify the potential emergencies that could affect them, and develop a plan that addresses the four phases of emergency management activities: mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. Emergency management plans must also address command structures, backup communications systems, building evacuations, and coordination with other community health care organizations and emergency responders.
Resources include Surge Hospitals: Providing Safe Care in Emergencies. This free, web-based guide shares lessons learned from hospitals affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and Standing Together: An Emergency Management Planning Guide for America's Communities.
The Targeted Solutions Tool™
The Targeted Solutions Tool™ (TST) developed by the Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare guides health care organizations through a step-by-step process to accurately measure their organization’s actual performance, identify their barriers to excellent performance, and direct them to proven solutions that are customized to address their particular barriers.
Patient-Centered Communication Standards
The Patient-Centered Communication standards are published in the 2011 Comprehensive Accreditation Manual for Hospitals (CAMH): The Official Handbook. Joint Commission surveyors will evaluate compliance with the Patient-Centered Communication standards beginning January 1, 2011; however, findings will not affect the accreditation decision. The information collected by Joint Commission surveyors and staff during this implementation pilot phase will be used to prepare the field for common implementation questions and concerns. Compliance with the Patient-Centered Communication standards will be included in the accreditation decision no earlier than January 2012.
Advancing Effective Communication, Cultural Competence, and Patient- and Family-Centered Care: A Roadmap for Hospitals
Advancing Effective Communication, Cultural Competence, and Patient- and Family-Centered Care: A Roadmap for Hospitals is a monograph developed by The Joint Commission to inspire hospitals to integrate concepts from the communication, cultural competence, and patient- and family-centered care fields into their organizations. The Roadmap for Hospitals provides recommendations to help hospitals address unique patient needs, meet the new Patient-Centered Communication standards, and comply with existing Joint Commission requirements.
The Joint Commission's Disease-Specific Care (DSC) Certification program was launched in February 2002. Since then, the Joint Commission's Disease-Specific Care Certification program has collaborated with the American Stroke Association to develop Primary Stroke Center Certification. The Joint Commission launched the nation's first certification program for chronic kidney disease management. The program uses the National Kidney Foundation's clinical practice guidelines.
The Joint Commission offers certification for programs that provide clinical care directly to participants and advanced certification for programs that meet additional, clinically specific requirements and expectations.
Primary Stroke Center Certification
The Joint Commission's Primary Stroke Center Certification Program launched in December 2003, was developed in collaboration with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA). Certification is available only to stroke programs in Joint Commission-accredited acute care hospitals. The Certificate of Distinction for Primary Stroke Centers recognizes centers that make exceptional efforts to foster better outcomes for stroke care. Programs applying for advanced certification must meet the requirements for Disease-Specific Care Certification plus additional, clinically specific requirements and expectations.
The Joint Commission's Speak Up™ safety awareness campaign publishes a free brochure for individuals who are considering participation in a human research study. The brochure teaches consumers about research studies, provides guidance and a list of questions to encourage individuals to become active, involved, and informed.
Health care-associated infections pose a risk to individuals in a variety of care settings. The Joint Commission's National Patient Safety Goals focus organizations on improving staff hand hygiene and reviewing deaths and injuries caused by infections.
Patients and the public play a role in infection control as well. The Joint Commission's Speak Up™ safety awareness campaign publishes a free brochure and poster on Five Things You Can Do To Prevent Infection.
A study published in Health Affairs concluded that the Joint Commission is the primary driver of hospitals' patient safety initiatives.
The Joint Commission is internationally recognized as a leader in patient safety. Almost 50 percent of Joint Commission standards are directly related to safety, addressing such issues as medication use, infection control, surgery and anesthesia, transfusions, restraint and seclusion, staffing and staff competence, fire safety, medical equipment, emergency management, and security. For more than a decade, the Joint Commission's Sentinel Event Policy has provided health care organizations a framework for reviewing adverse events and preventing them from harming future patients. In 2001, the Joint Commission began requiring health care organizations to tell patients when they've been harmed by a medical error. The Speak Up™ patient safety awareness campaign, launched in collaboration with the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, urges patients to play a more active role in their care. The National Patient Safety Goals focus health care organizations on preventing specific medical errors. The Universal Protocol to Prevent Wrong Site, Wrong Procedure and Wrong Person Surgery™ standardizes operating room procedures at hospitals and surgery centers across the nation.
Since 1992, Joint Commission standards have required accredited hospitals to prohibit smoking in the hospital. (See Smoke-free Campus)