Accreditation in healthcare is crucial to improving the quality of care, enhancing patient safety, and mitigating risks. The Joint Commission is one of the oldest accreditation bodies that serve to prevent harm and promote quality healthcare and patient advocacy (The Joint Commission, n.d.). This body collaborates with other stakeholders to evaluate healthcare organizations and encourage them to continue providing quality services to the public.
The history of the joint commission date back to 1951, when it was initially formed as the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals (JCAH). Between 1970 and 1972, JCAH began accrediting mental health programs, psychiatric care facilities, and substance abuse programs. Moving on to 1975, the body began accrediting facilities offering ambulatory care services. In 1982, the body expanded its scope to the accreditation of hospice care organizations. Between 1987 and 1988, the body underwent a tremendous expansion and changed its name to the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations(JCAHO) to reflect its widened scope of activities. The body went through a period of growth between 1999 and 2009, where it established the national patient safety goals, accredited various organizations, and launched impromptu on-site accreditation surveys. The body specialized in accreditation services between 2010 and 2019 (The Joint Commission, n.d.). At the moment, the body has gained immense recognition and collaborates with various healthcare establishments and societies to improve the quality and safety of patient care.
The joint commission serves numerous functions aimed at refining the quality of care and patient safety. For one, it functions to improve and sustain patient safety and care standards for hospitals and other healthcare establishments. It conducts surveys in accredited establishments every eighteen to thirty-six months to assess their performance (Wadhwa & Huynh, 2022). This body collaborates with external partners to investigate and evaluate matters pertaining to patient safety. Also, this body researches patient safety issues to develop best practices. It advocates for legislation that promotes a better quality of care by pushing the regulatory bodies to avoid overreliance on mandatory licensure but embrace private accreditation. This body enlightens establishments on how to elevate their operations, fulfil the requirements of regulatory bodies, and appraise their staff.
The joint commission is dedicated to offering significant information regarding the performance of their accredited establishments to the public. The performance of hospitals as pertains to the vital quality of care indicators is reported quarterly. The quality reports are availed online via the quality check website (Quality Check® at qualitycheck.org.). These reports indicate the level of compliance of its accredited organization with the joint commission’s recommendations for patient safety and quality of care (The Joint Commission, n.d.). Public reporting of quality indicators is essential as it allows patients, payers, and healthcare providers to access critical information regarding the safety and quality of care offered by all joint commission-accredited healthcare establishments. This helps patients compare different providers’ performance and make an informed choice. Additionally, providers can consider the performance of other providers and assess their services for any areas of improvement (Cacace & Geraedt, 2017). Therefore, public reporting serves as an approach to improving the quality of healthcare services.
Currently, the body is responsible for the accreditation and certification of nearly twenty-two thousand healthcare establishments and programs in the US. It is headed by a board of twenty-one commissioners who offer oversight and policy leadership. The commissioners comprise administrators, nurses, physicians, educators, and innovation, safety, and quality specialists (The Joint Commission, n.d.). Also, the board comprises representatives from each of its corporate members and seven other public members.
The joint commission positively influences patient care, healthcare organizations, and nursing practice. The joint commission reduces the variation in clinical processes, improving the quality of patient care. Also, it advocates for safety in the implementation of medical procedures which averts harm in the delivery of patient care. Moreover, this body helps healthcare organizations to gain a reputation by awarding them accreditation (Wadhwa & Huynh, 2022). The joint commission inspires the excellence of healthcare organizations in offering safe and effective patient care. Furthermore, this body promotes efficiency in the nursing practice by availing goals to guide nurses in addressing various aspects of patient safety.
Cacace, M., & Geraedt, M. (2017). Public reporting as a quality strategyMirella Cacace. European Journal of Public Health, 27(suppl_3).
The Joint Commission. (n.d.). Facts About The Joint Commission | The Joint Commission. Www.jointcommission.org. https://www.jointcommission.org/who-we-are/facts-about-the-joint-commission/#f0ac9c02bcc84ef8a9d7d56d9913e12f_65c3aa4c69084db38cf76f4c443edfd6
Wadhwa, R., & Huynh, A. P. (2022). The Joint Commission. In StatPearls [Internet]. StatPearls Publishing.