Joint Commission International (JCI), the international arm of The Joint Commission (USA), has enjoyed tremendous growth since its inception in 1994. Best known for its international healthcare accreditation and certification programs, JCI continues to grow its presence outside of the USA. JCI’s success stems not only from its pedigree in accreditation of US healthcare organizations (which dates back to 1918) but also leadership and innovation in improving the safety and quality of patient care.
In addition to its accreditation and certification programs, or as part of these programs, here are eight things JCI has done to advance healthcare quality improvement and patient safety worldwide.
WHO Collaborating Centre for Patient Safety Solutions
In 2005, the World Health Organization (WHO) designated The Joint Commission (JCI’s US-based parent organization) and JCI as the world’s first WHO Collaborating Centre dedicated solely to patient safety. The Collaborating Centre has established a growing international network to identify, evaluate, adapt and disseminate patient safety solutions throughout the world.
International Patient Safety Goals
From 2007 onwards, JCI-accredited hospitals were expected to comply with six International Patient Safety Goals (IPSGs) in addition to its standards for hospitals. Implementation of the IPSGs required hospitals to take proactive strategies to reduce the risk of medical error and patient harm.
Also introduced in JCI on-site surveys in 2007, the tracer methodology is an evaluation method “tracing” a single patient’s experience within a health care organization “to assess and evaluate the organization’s compliance with selected standards and the organization’s systems of providing care and services”. By doing so, the survey process becomes more patient-centric–viewing care from the perspective of the patient–and is in contrast to the department-oriented or function-specific approach favored by a number of national hospital accreditation schemes.
Robust Process Improvement
In 2009, Dr Mark Chassin, President of The Joint Commission, implemented a process improvement program in the Joint Commission/JCI, which incorporates Six Sigma, Lean, change management and high reliability tools, aimed at creating value for its customers and improving efficiency in both the operations of The Joint Commission/JCI and for the healthcare organizations with which it works. By taking this step, The Joint Commission/JCI isn’t merely evaluating quality improvement in hospitals but also making it part of its culture.
The Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare
Consistent with the objective of The Joint Commission/JCI to transform healthcare into a high reliability industry, the Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare identifies, creates, implements and shares effective healthcare quality and safety solutions with the more than 17,000 healthcare organizations that The Joint Commission and JCI accredit and certify in the USA and internationally.
A Focus on Outcomes and Critical Processes of Care
Over the past decade, we have witnessed a significant shift of emphasis by The Joint Commission/JCI from structure and policies to measuring important clinical outcomes and processes, i.e. those that really matter to patients.
JCI produces a wide array of publications that cover topics such as patient safety, performance measurement, performance improvement, healthcare environment, survey preparation, conducting self-assessments and mock surveys, etc.
JCI International Cardiac Surgery Benchmarking (ICSB) Project
A pilot program involving selected JCI-accredited hospitals located in different countries throughout the world, the ICSB project enables hospitals to evaluate their performance in coronary artery bypass graft and valve-related surgery relative to that of other participating organizations, thereby (potentially) improving outcomes of cardiac surgical procedures in the long-term.
If you know of other ways JCI has contributed to improving healthcare safety and quality worldwide or have suggestions on how it may be able to do so in the future, please leave a comment below.