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This award-winning blog supplements the articles in Hospital Infection Control & Prevention.

HAIs a high priority: Joint Commission opens new web portal

In yet another sign that infection control is becoming a national priority across a wide range of accreditors, regulators and state and federal agencies, the Joint Commission has created a new web portal to combine its full array of initiatives to prevent health care associated infections (HAIs). “[We] have many moving parts that affect many aspects of health care,” says Jerod M. Loeb, PhD executive vice president for healthcare quality evaluation at the Oakbrook Terrace, IL-based accrediting agency. “We have standards, performance measures, our center for transforming health care. The problem has been that they have all been located in silos.” The “HAI Portal” enterprise includes the Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare, Joint Commission Resources, and Joint Commission International. The goal of the HAI Portal is to provide an integrated “kiosk” of HAI resources – including those that are free and for purchase – in one web view that is accessible through any of the Joint Commission related websites. Yes, there are Joint Commission related products for sale on the site, but Loeb says that was not the primary driver of the project. “It was not built to be a marketing site,” he says. “But just knowing a standard and knowing the elements by which a hospital might be surveyed doesn’t give them all the other answers. So we have created a variety of tools and things that are available -- many of which are free. If you are an accredited organization, for example, you can turn to our leading-practice library. If you have issues related to getting house staff to wash hands prior to central line insertion, for example, you can find dozens of things that other organizations that we accredit have identified as good solutions.” Indeed, in the shadow of an increasingly active Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) – the federal agency that gives it deeming authority to grant accreditation – the Joint Commission is not likely to become less aggressive in the survey process. (As we previously reported, the CMS will begin unannounced inspections of infection prevention and hospital employee health programs later this year.) “We certainly have worked closely with them and we will continue to work closely with CMS as part of our deemed status relationship,” Loeb says. “People and professional societies can preach it, but if nobody is validating whether [infection control] is done or not, things often don’t change. We have an interesting perspective here because we have both carrots and sticks. This portal is, we believe, a large carrot.” The Joint Commission HAI portal can be accessed at