News Briefs

JCAHO releases its 2006 safety goals

The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations has published the 2006 National Patient Safety Goals and related requirements for each of its accreditation programs and Disease-Specific Care certification program.

The goals and requirements, approved by its board of commissioners, apply to the more than 15,000 Joint Commission-accredited and certified health care organizations and programs.

Major additions to this fourth annual issuance of National Patient Safety Goals include a new requirement in all of the programs that hand-offs of patients between caregivers be standardized, with particular attention to assuring the opportunity for asking and responding to questions. This requirement is part of the goal: "Improve the effectiveness of communication among caregivers."

In addition, a new requirement for all types of accredited organizations that provide surgical or other invasive services specifies that all medications, medication containers, and other solutions used in perioperative settings are to be labeled. This requirement is part of the goal: "Improve the safety of using medications."

To access the new goals, go to the Joint Commission’s web site:

JCAHO revisits emergency management standard

The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) is asking health care organizations for feedback to its proposed revisions to its emergency management planning standard.

The revisions would require organizations to undergo more thorough planned emergency management drills to better gauge their ability to function during a disaster, such as a bioterrorism attack.

The revisions apply to ambulatory care, office-based surgery, behavioral health care, critical access hospitals, hospitals, home care, and long-term care accreditation programs.

Some of the proposed revisions require:

  • realistic planned test scenarios related to the priority emergencies identified in the organization’s hazard vulnerability analysis;
  • measurable performance expectations established by the organization to be used during planned tests to evaluate the timeliness and quality of core performance areas, such as event notification, communication, resource mobilization and allocation, and patient management;
  • a person not participating in the test to monitor performance and documents variation from established measurable performance expectations;
  • organizations to critique completed tests through a multidisciplinary process that includes administration and clinical staff, including physicians and support staff; organizations to modify their emergency management plan in response to critiques of tests;
  • planned tests to evaluate the effectiveness of improvements that were made in response to previous test critiques;
  • the strengths and weaknesses of performance during tests to be communicated to the multidisciplinary improvement team responsible for monitoring environment-of-care issues.