to main content Disease Specific Care Certification Fact Sheet | The Joint Commission

Disease Specific Care Certification Fact Sheet

The Disease-Specific Care (DSC) Certification program launched in 2002 to evaluate clinical programs across the continuum of care. Organizations may seek certification for care and services provided for virtually any chronic disease or condition.


The Joint Commission offers a wide variety of DSC Certifications, including advanced certification, in the following areas:

General Medicine
Physical Medicine/Rehabilitation
Wound Care

Detailed information is available on the DSC webpage.

On-site review

The on-site review and the intracycle evaluation help the DSC program identify and correct problems and improve the quality of care and services. To become certified, an organization is evaluated during an on-site review conducted by one or two Joint Commission reviewers, who will assess:

  • How clinical outcomes and other performance measures are used to identify opportunities to improve care.
  • Whether the organization leaders understand and commit to improving the quality of care for patients in need of the services the program provides.
  • How patients and their caregivers are educated and prepared for discharge.

Reviewers also will validate that evidence-based guidelines for clinical care are incorporated into daily clinical practices. The on-site review will include the use of the tracer methodology — the cornerstone of The Joint Commission’s on-site certification process. The objectives of the tracer methodology include:

  • Following the experience of care for patients through the program’s entire continuum of care.
  • Identifying performance issues in one or more steps of the process or in the interfaces between processes.
  • Validating compliance with the DSC standards through interviews and observations.

The tracer methodology permits reviewers to “pull the threads” if there is a reason to believe that an issue needs further exploration.

Ongoing certification requirements

Disease-specific programs that successfully demonstrate compliance with The Joint Commission’s requirements during the on-site review are awarded certification for a two-year period. At the end of the first year, the organization is required to participate in an Intracycle Monitoring (ICM) conference call to attest to its continued compliance with the standards and to review performance improvement activities.


Certified programs are required to regularly submit data to The Joint Commission. More information about performance measures is available in the DSC Certification Review Process Guide, available on the DSC webpage.


Read More