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Surveys should share beneficial initiatives
A risk manager who has worked closely with the Joint Commission says the new system for random on-site visits and record requests might be counterproductive if providers get the impression that the Joint Commission is just out to get them.
There is no doubt that the recent changes from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations will have a major impact, says Nancy Guilliom, BSN, FASHRM, CPHQ, risk manager with Norton Healthcare in Louisville, KY, and chairwoman of the Joint Commission Task Force for the American Society of Healthcare Risk Management. Patient care has been improved in recent years with the assistance of the Joint Commission’s triennial, random, and for-cause surveys, she says. The new system of unannounced surveys might be counterproductive if providers feel threatened, she says.
"Accreditation is not a gotcha’ game," she says. "It should be a collaborative effort between the Joint Commission and health care facilities to promote quality patient care. Once resulting data is compiled during the accreditation process, the Joint Commission’s focus should be on sharing concrete initiatives with facilities that could benefit from improved systems to enhance patient safety."
Unannounced surveys feel more regulatory
The move to unannounced surveys probably will have a more "regulatory" feel for hospitals, Guilliom says. She says the recently announced changes are unnecessary and that the system already was compelling hospitals to maintain high standards.
"I think the days are long gone when hospitals would gear up the year before a scheduled Joint Commission visit and then let things slide," she says. But if any hospitals still follow that practice, "those facilities will be at the greatest risk for a poor score if they are selected for a random, unannounced survey."
For more information, contact Nancy Guilliom at (502) 893-1207.