Joint Commission changes survey agenda process

The Joint Commission has implemented a more collaborative process for developing the survey agenda. The Joint Commission will inform providers before their survey about the on-site survey length and number of surveyors. Also, the organization can work with surveyors during the survey to determine the best timing for various survey activities.

The new process will be more sensitive to the time demands of health care organizations and their staffs during the on-site survey. All accreditation customers due for survey this year will experience this revised agenda process. The new process does not affect certification reviews.

The Joint Commission will send an e-mail to the organization to confirm the programs to be surveyed and to direct the organization to its Joint Commission Connect extranet page for a list of survey activities for each accreditation program. The list is a planning tool that can be used with the 2010 Survey Activity Guide for Health Care Organizations. The Joint Commission also will provide a program-specific document list that identifies initial materials surveyors will request at the onset of the survey.

Shortly after an organization receives its e-mail, it will receive a phone call from its account executive to confirm that it has reviewed and understands the information on its extranet site. At this time, the account executive will provide the anticipated number of days and number of surveyors that will be assigned to the survey.

On the first day of the survey, surveyors will work with the organization to confirm that the schedule considers the organization's operations and needs. During the survey, organizations will work with surveyors to determine the best time for scheduling survey activities so they coincide more effectively with patient care and administrative operations. The Joint Commission notes that survey activities are not changing.

The 2010 Survey Activity Guide for Health Care is available on The Joint Commission web site ( The guide provides information for all accreditation programs about how to prepare for the on-site survey, including:

• ways to facilitate the on-site survey process;

• logistical needs for the on-site survey;

• materials that surveyors will need while on-site;

• on-site survey activities.