The Joint Commission on Accreditation of healthcare organizations (JCAHO) is a non-profit and independent accreditation organization that provides accreditation and certification for various healthcare organizations, health plans, health packages and hospitals in the US. It has been functioning in the US, and is recognized throughout the world. More than 15, 000 healthcare organizations in the US have been accredited and certified by the Joint Commission. An organization that subscribes to accreditation by the JCAHO would constantly have to make an effort to reach certain performance standards.
JCAHO gives greater importance to maintaining patient safety standards and improving the quality of care (The Joint Commission, 2008). The Joint Commission has accredited several aspects of medical care including ambulatory care, assisted living, behavioral healthcare, critical care, laboratory services, home care, surgeries, old age clinics, staff and employees, disease-management, long-term care, etc (The Joint Commission, 2008). It is very important that the healthcare organization complies with the specifications mentioned by the JCAHO.
Firstly, the healthcare organization has to understand the importance of having these specifications in place. It would benefit the organization and also the patients, insurance companies, government and the general public. The litigations against malpractice are significantly fewer when a hospital has accreditation. Flowsheets that record detailed information and observations of the patients vitals and care administered would help in precise documentation. An electronic system would act as an aid in ensuring that the specifications of the joint Commission are enforced and followed.
Studies have demonstrated that the compliance levels of the JCAHO specifications are around 50 % in all healthcare organizations that subscribe to accreditation by this organization. The outcome of any case would certainly be better if the specifications laid down by the JCAHO are followed. Frequently, the Joint Commission would be conducting surveys and suggested measures to be implemented in order to improve the status of the employees and the patients. One way of ensuring that the organization complies with the JCAHO specifications is to have several monitoring devices in place.
These include surprise checks, regular visits, inspection of the records, etc. The information transmitted and stored in the hospital database should be accessible to the JCAHO for the purpose of monitoring. Patient surveys are another method of ensuring compliance by the JCAHO. Another way would be to record the cases of malpractice against the healthcare organization (Massachusetts General Hospital, 2007). There are several requirements a hospital or a healthcare organization has to follow in order to get accredited to the JCAHO.
These include: ? Following the recommendations launched by the AMH and the BHC ? Following the requirements of the HIPAA ? Having a system that fulfills the recommendations lay down by the JCAHO regarding flow of information (using software tools such as TIER). ? Some of the important criteria regarding the information management system includes: 1. Maintain confidentiality of the patient information 2. The internal and the external needs have to be addressed through comprehensive planning 3.
Security of the information accessibility only to the relevant staff members 4. Data, which can be collected, analyzed and decisions-made. 5. Addressing the education and training needs Information should be presented to the staff members and the patients in an automated manner 6. Information and clinical records presented to the patients should be comprehensive and specific. The Joint Commission accreditation has several advantages and disadvantages. Advantages: ¢ The patients would be having greater confidence in the healthcare organization and health plan.
¢ In the market, there would be greater competition between the healthcare organizations. ¢ The risk management would be more efficient. ¢ The business practices and ethics would improve. ¢ The human resource management process would be better. ¢ Insurance companies and third parties would have better relationships with the healthcare organization. ¢ Compliance with the terms and conditions mentioned by the regulatory bodies would be better. Disadvantages: ¢ Information provided to the JCAHO could be potentially misused.
¢ The hospital would be spending huge sums of money for the purpose of accreditation and would actually not be involved in improving patient care. ¢ Unhealthy competition may be propagated.
Brink, L. J. (2004). JCAHO Information Management Standards and TIER Retrieved on February 18, 2008, from Hospitals for a Healthy Environment Web site: http://www. sequest. net/articles/TIER%20and%20JCAHO%20IM%20Standards. pdf Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (2007). Guide to JCAHO Environment of Care Standard 1. 10.1 Retrieved on January 29, 2008, from Hospitals for a Healthy Environment Web site: http://www. h2e-online. org/regsandstandards/jcahoEC1. 10. 1. html Masshecutes General Hospital (2007). Massachusetts General Hospital Summary of the Joint Commission Findings. Retrieved on January 29, 2008, from MGH Web site: http://www. massgeneral. org/findings_summary. html The Joint Commission (2008). Joint Commission Requirements. Retrieved on January 29, 2008, from The Joint Commission Web site: http://www. jointcommission. org/Standards/Requirements/