JCAHO Update for Infection Control

JCAHO praises disclosure of health care quality data

Movement to open records continues

The Joint Commission is applauding the public release of information on hospital clinical performance by the Hospital Quality Alliance. The measures used to produce this information meet the highest contemporary standards for reliability and validity.

The initial measures for which performance information is being reported — on heart attacks, heart failure, and pneumonia — were identified and developed by the Joint Commission in collaboration with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and subsequently were endorsed by the National Quality Forum (NQF).

Nearly 3,200 Joint Commission-accredited hospitals nationwide currently are collecting data on these clinical measures. In addition, the Joint Commission has been making information on these conditions — as well as pregnancy and related conditions — available since July 2004 on its free Quality Check web site at www.qualitycheck.org.

The Joint Commission’s Quality Check web site provides data that permit individuals to compare the performance of local hospitals against state and national averages both for individual performance measures and for aggregate performance at the clinical condition level (for example, for heart attack care). Quality Check also provides performance information on accredited home care agencies, nursing homes, ambulatory care facilities, behavioral health programs, and laboratories. In addition, users of Quality Check are able to determine how well health care organizations are performing in meeting separate standardized national patient safety goals that have specifically been designed to prevent serious medical errors.

The requirements seek to avoid misidentification of patients, surgery on the wrong body part, miscommunication among caregivers, unsafe use of infusion pumps, medication mix-ups, and infections acquired in the health care setting, among other problem areas.