Joint Commission Debuts New Accreditation Process “Shared Visions — New Pathways” Will Redirect The Focus Of The Accreditation Process

OAKBROOK TERRACE, Ill. — The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) formally announced significant changes to its accreditation process for health care organizations.

Over the next 18 to 24 months, the initiative, “Shared Visions — New Pathways,” will progressively sharpen the focus of the accreditation process on care systems critical to the safety and quality of patient care.

Shared Visions represents agreements among the Joint Commission and health care organizations as to what a modern accreditation process should be able to do and achieve as a constructive driver toward the provision of safe, high-quality care, while “New Pathways” represents a new set of approaches, or pathways, to the accreditation process that will support fulfillment of the shared visions, said Dennis S. O’Leary, M.D., president of JCAHO. “The new program shifts the focus from survey preparation to focusing on operations and internal systems that directly impact the quality and safety of care.”

The New Pathways include:
• Conduct of a required mid-cycle, self-assessment, during which the health care organization will evaluate its own compliance with the applicable standards and develop a plan of correction for identified areas of noncompliance;
• Pre-survey review of organization-specific information, such as ORYX core measure data, sentinel event information, and MedPar data, through an
automated process to identify critical processes relevant to patient safety
and health care quality for evaluation during the on-site survey;
• Substantial consolidation of the standards to reduce the paperwork and documentation burden of the survey process and increase its focus on patient safety and health care quality;
• On-site evaluation of standards compliance in relation to the care experience of actual patients;
• Revision of individual organization performance reports to provide performance information not portrayed in the current reports; and
• Active engagements of physicians in the new accreditation process.

The Joint Commission has already initiated a number of other enhancements that are part of the future accreditation process. These include an electronic ‘Request for Survey,’ formal certification for surveyors, and a consolidated database of standards for all of the Joint Commission’s accreditation programs. An integrated survey process for complex organizations (to replace the current “tailored” survey process), announced earlier this year, will create further accreditation process efficiencies.

Further information on the new accreditation process is available at the Joint Commission Resources’ Web site: www.jcrinc.com/perspectives.

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