Joint Commission standards are the basis of an objective evaluation process that can help health care organizations measure, assess and improve performance. The standards focus on important patient, individual, or resident care and organization functions that are essential to providing safe, high quality care. The Joint Commission’s state-of-the-art standards set expectations for organization performance that are reasonable, achievable and surveyable.
Standards Development Process
Joint Commission standards are developed with input from health care professionals, providers, subject matter experts, consumers, and government agencies (including the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services). They are informed by scientific literature and expert consensus and reviewed by the Board of Commissioners. New standards are added only if they relate to patient safety or quality of care, have a positive impact on health outcomes, meet or surpass law and regulation, and can be accurately and readily measured. The standards development process includes the following steps:
Emerging quality and safety issues suggesting the need for additional or modified requirements are identified through the scientific literature or discussions with The Joint Commission’s standing committees and advisory groups, accredited organizations, professional associations, consumer groups or others.
The Joint Commission prepares draft standards using input from technical advisory panels, focus groups, experts and other stakeholders.
The draft standards are distributed nationally for review and made available for comment on the Standards Field Review page of The Joint Commission website.
After any necessary revisions, standards are reviewed and approved by executive leadership.
The survey process is enhanced, as needed, to address the new standards requirements, and pilot testing of the survey process is conducted.
Surveyors are educated about how to assess compliance with the new standards.
The approved standards are published for use by the field.
Once a standard is in effect, ongoing feedback is sought for the purpose of continuous improvement.
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Standards are available on this website when they are in Field Review or Prepublication status. The standards not in field or prepublication status are available in print and electronic formats and can be purchased from
Joint Commission Resources® (JCR®). Each accredited and certified organization receives one complimentary manual delivered via E-dition® (the electronic manual). The E-dition is accessible on the Joint Commission Connect® extranet site.