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Joint Commission: Enhancing Patient Safety through Better and Safer Management of Medication.


Wrong medication is a worrisome issue that haunts the healthcare facilities around the world. Improper medication procedures lead to unsafe drug mix up or drug overdose, which exposes the patient to risk of drug complications and at same time increases the cost of treatment. The Joint Commission strives to make the medication procedure as safe as possible by encouraging safe practices. The prime objective is to eliminate the medication errors, which can occur during the course of patient´s admission, transfer, treatment or discharge.

Joint Commission strives to enhance the patient´s safety through inclusion of following safe practices into the medication procedure with the sole purpose to eliminate or drastically reduce the risk to patient´s life due to drug complications.

Involve Patient in the Treatment

The idea is make the patient central figure in the medication procedure. The patient should be allowed to speak openly about the treatment and his or her views should be taken into account. Further medical history, allergies and drugs that induce adverse reactions in patient should be taken into account while prescribing the drugs. This is a crucial feedback, which should guide the medical staff to treat the patient successfully without putting his or her life at risk due drug complication, at any stage of the treatment. The patient should be made aware of drugs prescribed and how they will help them in their recovery. Any doubts pertaining to the drugs should be clarified so that they can use the drug properly and at same time understand the resultant side effects.

Maintain Proper Medication Documentation

The hospital on admission should check the past medical records and take into the consideration the present requirement before prescribing any medication. It should maintain a detailed record of daily dosage administered, the delivery route and patient´s allergies. Specific care should be taken while administering high risk medicines, which if wrongly administered, can seriously threaten the life of the patient. Further during discharge or transfer to another health service provider, the prescribed medication and the frequency of use should be verified so that no drug complications occur.

Involve a Pharmacist.

There are many drugs that are available in the market, which have similar names but are used for different purposes. Any mix up due to wrong communication in form of bad writing or lack of proper drug knowledge can put the health of patient at risk. The availability of increasing numbers of newer drugs in the market makes it difficult for the doctors to keep themselves updated. This compromises the patient safety. The best way out, is to involve a pharmacist in the medication process as the doctors can have extra pair of sharper and trained eyes that can easily eliminate the medication errors and ensure patient safety.

Double Check the Medication Procedure

There should be an independent entity that crosschecks the whole medication procedure of the patient right from the prescription to actual administration of the drug to the patient. This extra safeguard helps to filter out the errors that might still exist in the medication procedure no matter how well it has been followed by the medical staff. This is a key security feature, which effectively removes any shortcoming that might have been overlooked or crept into medication procedure due to human lapse.

The prime objective of Joint Commission here, is to create a medication procedure, which encourages patient participation and at same time places stringent checks to root out any existing discrepancies in the medication procedure so that patient is protected from drug complications.

Safer Medication procedure protects patient from drug complications.

Jason Gaya

Read more on Joint Commission, at www.empowerbpo.com

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JCAHO- Ensuring Highest Patient Safety Standards


JCAHO stands for Joint Commission for Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations and is a non-profit and non–government organization that provides accreditation to hospitals and healthcare organizations. The commission has health care surveyors who visit hospital and healthcare facilities to check for the compliance of healthcare norms that have been framed by the Joint Commission.

Patient safety is one of the priorities of the Joint commission and it has framed safety policies for the hospitals and healthcare facilities so that deaths due human error are completely eliminated. Keeping in mind the safety of the patients undergoing treatment at various facilities, JCAHO has set standards that must be implemented by the hospitals. The organization at the same time evaluates its own standards with the aim to make them even better by setting up higher goals. The purpose is to maintain high level patient care and remove the existing deficiencies in the healthcare system. To do this effectively Joint commission adopts following policies:

Reporting Sentinel Events:

The term, Sentinel event, is used for an unexpected event like death or loss of limb or function due to some unattended risk in the healthcare premises. It is mandatory for the healthcare facilities and the hospitals to report such events so that root cause analysis of the event can be done with aim to know the true reasons behind it. Appropriate counter measures can be taken to prevent the reoccurrence in the future. To spread the awareness about the sentinel events the Joint Commission performs following duties

  • Provides aggregate data and analysis of sentinel events on the website.
  • It provides information on the errors and their frequency.
  • Sheds light on the outcomes and the methods of review.

National Patient Safety Goals:

The organization every year reviews the safety requirement of the patients so that they can be provided the treatment in safe environment without exposing them to the risks, associated with the treatment process and healthcare premises. While creating the goals for the coming year some of the existing goals are dropped and replaced with new emerging priorities. This approach provides flexibility to find effective solutions for the emerging patient safety problems. For the year 2010 the new set of goals are:

  • Ambulatory Health care
  • Behavioral Health Care
  • Critical Access Hospital
  • Home Care
  • Hospital
  • Laboratory
  • Long term care
  • Office- based surgery

Creating an Environment of Care:

JCAHO patient care initiative make is necessary for the hospital to implement a caring environment for the patient by establishing proper communication procedures to prevent adverse effects on the health care workers, patients and visitors. The implementation of a proper, information collection and evaluation system makes it easy to avoid adverse and unexpected events like patient fall or other injuries during intervention and improvement phase of the treatment.

Recommending Risk Reduction Strategies:

The Joint Commission recommends certain risk reduction strategies to the health care facilities. It is not necessary to follow them completely; rather they should analyze which of the practices are most suitable for their organization and adopt those. Below are the mostly likely risk reduction steps that are recommended by JCAHO and also reflect in the sentinel alerts on the website.

  • Eliminating wrong- site surgery.
  • Manage high alert medications.
  • Eliminate use of usage and inappropriate patient restraints.
  • Eliminate intravenous infusion pump errors.
  • Reduce risks of fatal falls.
  • Reduce risks of adverse transfusion events.
  • Reduce pre/post operative complications.
  • Reduce inpatient suicide.
  • Reduce infant abduction.

Thus JCAHO strives to improve the patient safety during the treatment by initiating guidelines to hospitals on the safe practices that they should adopt and reviews their working on timely basis. Once the compliance is confirmed, the Joint Commission issues the accreditation certificate to the concerned health care facility.

JCAHO strives to create safer environment for patients in the hospitals.

Jason Gaya

Read more on JCAHO, at http://www.empowerbpo.com

Joint Commission! for Healthcare


What is JCAHO? here’s a short introduction of  JCAHO that i found at the  Joint commission website.

JCAHO stands for the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations a private nongovernmental agency formed to set up guidelines for the operation of hospitals and other health care facilities, conduct surveys, and awards accreditation for the attainment of high standards of quality in institutional medical care in the United States. The Joint Commission is dedicated to improving quality of healthcare. The mission of Joint Commission is to continuously improve the safety and quality of care provided to the public through the provision of health care accreditation and related services that support performance improvement in health care organizations.

The Joint Commission has been nation’s predominant standards-setting and accrediting body in health care since 1951. It evaluates and accredits more than 16,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. The Joint Commission has maintained state-of-the-art standards that focus on improving the quality and safety of care provided by health care organizations. The Joint Commission’s comprehensive process evaluates an organization’s compliance with these standards and other accreditation or certification requirements. Joint Commission accreditation and certification is recognized nationwide as a symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s commitment to meeting certain performance standards. An organization must undergo an on-site survey by a Joint Commission survey team at least every three years to earn and maintain The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval.

Accreditation and certification services

The Joint Commission provides accreditation services for the following types of organizations:

  • General, psychiatric, children’s and rehabilitation hospitals
  • Critical access hospitals
  • Medical equipment services, hospice services and other home care organizations
  • Nursing homes and other long term care facilities
  • Behavioral health care organizations, addiction services
  • Rehabilitation centers, group practices, office-based surgeries and other ambulatory care providers
  • Independent or freestanding laboratories
  • The Joint Commission also awards Disease Specific Care Certification to health plans, disease management service companies, hospitals and other care delivery settings that provide disease management and chronic care services. The Joint Commission also has a Health Care Staffing Services Certification Program and is developing a certification program for transplant centers and health care services

Benefits of Joint Commission accreditation and certification

  • Strengthens community confidence in the quality and safety of care, treatment and services
  • Provides a competitive edge in the marketplace
  • Improves risk management and risk reduction
  • Provides education on good practices to improve business operations
  • Provides professional advice and counsel, enhancing staff education
  • Enhances staff recruitment and development
  • Recognized by select insurers and other third parties
  • May fulfill regulatory requirements in select states

Wow.. I dint know that JCAHO covered so many aspects.

J.G

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