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Joint Commission International sets focus on continuous accreditation program

Article-Joint Commission International sets focus on continuous accreditation program

Shutterstock JCI accreditation
Catalyzing Excellence: Joint Commission International set to unveil 8th edition standards for hospitals and academic medical centers (AMC).

Accreditation plays a pivotal role in ensuring the quality, safety, and efficiency of services within the healthcare industry, and the US-based Joint International Commission (JCI) continues to be a leader in this respect.

Armed with decades of expertise in the healthcare industry, JCI has become a prestigious symbol for healthcare organizations that strive to achieve a high standard of quality care and patient safety. JCI further equips healthcare providers with the tools and resources necessary to strengthen health systems and encourage professionals to excel in their field.

“JCI is part of a parent company, The Joint Commission, and is currently the largest healthcare accreditor in the world. We are present in more than 70 countries, accrediting hundreds of healthcare organizations with multiple different services and solutions, and we continue to expand our portfolio and reach,” said Dr. Joel Roos, Vice President of International Accreditation, Quality Improvement and Patient Safety at the Joint Commission International.

In UAE alone, JCI accredits more than 200 healthcare organizations spanning various settings such as hospitals, ambulatory clinics, laboratories and more. According to Dr. Roos, many of these healthcare organizations hold multiple certifications that also accredit their ambulatory care settings and other facilities.

Related: The role of accreditation in elevating global healthcare education standards

“While the majority of current JCI-accredited healthcare organizations are hospitals and academic medical centers, we also accredit non-hospital settings such as ambulatory clinics, home care, laboratories, long-term care, medical transport, and primary care providers. For large organizations with multiple sites, we now offer an Enterprise Accreditation Program to support the modern healthcare systems that consist of several hospitals, separate ambulatory care centres, and possibly some freestanding laboratories, all that feed into each other and operate as a system,” Dr. Roos added.

JCI Accreditation Standards are presented in detailed format, each outlining a set of goals and guidelines for active JCI-accredited healthcare organizations. Its 8th edition is currently in the final stages of development, and Dr. Roos highlights that we are expected to see a streamlining of existing standards by 85 to 90 per cent, and an increase in certain focus areas such as sustainability.

“Sustainability is one of the new chapters in the 8th edition. Given the current state of the world and with the recent COP28 held in Dubai, we have been asked when we would be including standards to address this subject. And so, we have partnered with the Geneva Sustainability Centre, an organization housed within the International Hospital Federation, to jointly develop environmental sustainability standards,” he said.

JCI is passionate about initiating conversations about sustainability and encouraging organizations to pay close attention to this area of concern. Dr. Roos added that environmental sustainability is a key global trend, with the UAE being the most notable country making great strides compared to many areas of the world. “Environmental sustainability requires resources which some countries or organizations may not be able to allocate at this time; hence we understand concerns about achieving or maintaining accreditation as part of the new standards,” he said.

JCI’s goal is to work with all healthcare organizations to drive adoption and help them improve their environmental sustainability initiatives. “As we want to encourage environmental sustainability, we are still fine-tuning the scoring mechanism to help organizations adopt these standards and best drive improvements without penalizing them, especially those that are just beginning to make changes and improvements. These discussions are still ongoing, but we are committed to moving forward with environmental sustainability in terms of hospital accreditation,” he said.

Additionally, JCI recently launched a new laboratory program based on ISO standards based on market demand, particularly in the Middle East and UAE regions. This new Laboratory Program combines its strengths in hospital and laboratory management with the ISO’s strong technical and process requirements.

Related: Diagnosing the future of sustainability in healthcare

As JCI prepares to introduce its Continuous Accreditation Program, Dr. Roos added that leadership, commitment and involvement are key factors that drive safe and reliable delivery of care in hospitals and organizations.

“Going through an accreditation process to improve quality and safety is a team sport, and there are many competing priorities for a healthcare organization to consider. Without full team involvement and leadership driving it, it will not succeed. Leadership commitment and engagement, to me, is the first step.”

Teamwork between quality improvement coordinators and chief medical officers, alongside the involvement of staff members in the hospitals, could enhance efforts to achieve high standards of quality care and patient satisfaction.

Dr. Roos highlighted that the biggest misunderstanding healthcare organizations have is thinking that JCI guidelines are prescriptive. He believes that a hospital should determine the best solution that meets the goals of its facility, which could vary from one organization to another and within the regions in which they operate.

He further advised that organizations should focus on the maintenance of accreditation at all times, much like physicians who continuously work on improving their craft after receiving their initial board certifications.

“At the end of the day, the goal is to shift the focus from serving the accreditation process to enabling quality improvement and patient safety and ensuring sustained improvements in hospital operations,” he concluded.

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