Fun and games help staff prepare for JCAHO

Getting your staff ready for an unannounced survey by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) is different from the old way of preparing tons of charts and notebooks for a formal presentation, says Ann Staroszczyk, CPHQ, director of quality management at Aurora Sinai Medical Center in Milwaukee.

The Aurora Sinai staff did well in its recent survey because Staroszczyk and her colleagues had implemented several strategies to help educate them about Joint Commission compliance and related issues. The hospital uses its internal web site to post Joint Commission learning opportunities, such as the "JCAHO Question of the Week." The question addresses a topic that is important for compliance, and the department supervisor often posts it in a work area to spur discussion.

"It gets them used to answering questions about these issues," she says. "They're used to it by the time someone from JCAHO shows up and starts asking the same questions."

Another technique is called "JCAHO Bingo." Employees are given bingo cards that have a question with three possible answers in each square. The employee chooses an answer and checks with a supervisor to see if it is correct. Once enough answers are correct to spell BINGO, the cards are collected for a drawing. A few employees win a small prize, such as a key chain, from the hospital gift shop.

All staff are required to participate in the monthly Joint Commission education, either on the internal web site or by playing JCAHO Bingo. The bingo game appeals to some staff who are not as comfortable working on the computer, she notes. "The idea is to make it a little fun and spark more interest," Staroszczyk says.