JOINT COMMISION INTERNATIONAL (JCI)
The Importance of International Accreditation for Hospitals
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On matters of healthcare, life and limb, people demand the best. Among Filipinos, the best is widely perceived to be available offshore, particularly the US, even though Filipino doctors are world-renowned and the most modern medical technology and facilities are available locally. US healthcare programs are perceived to be better because they consistently produce quality outcomes. They have total quality and performance outcomes assessed against internationally accepted standards and practice.
THE INDUSTRY TRADE SECRET The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) is one of several agencies recognized by the US government to handle accreditation of healthcare organizations as a prerequisite to licensing, operations and subsidy grants. In the United States it is the oldest and largest health care accrediting body. For the past 50 years it has developed standards and evaluated compliance of health care organizations to these standards. It is a prestigious organization looked upon by US hospitals with respect due to its reputation, experience and credibility.
JCR: GLOBAL SUBSIDIARY The need to constantly monitor improvements in health care environments worldwide has been a big challenge for JCAHO. Through its global subsidiary, Joint Commission Resources, Inc. (JCR), it helps healthcare organizations worldwide improve the quality of patient care and achieve peak performance. JCR is a global knowledge-based organization that disseminates information on accreditation, standards development and compliance, good practice and healthcare improvement.
JCI: THE INTERNATIONAL ACCREDITING BODY Companies recognize that international standards developed by distinguished organizations provide the positive difference in the way a company operates. The increasing demand for International Standards for Organizations (ISO) accreditation is proof of this. In healthcare, focus on assessing organizational performance and stimulating continuous improvement to achieve optimum outcomes in providing patient care is the ultimate objective of Joint Commission International (JCI), a division of JCR. JCI sets standards of governance and leadership similar to ISO. But it sets additional standards focusing on clinical care.
THE CLAMOR FOR AN INTERNATIONAL ACCREDITING BODY In 1999, to address a worldwide need for an objective standards-based healthcare accreditation process, JCI launched its international accreditation program. It extended JCAHO’s mission to the rest of the world. A 16-member team representing seven major regions of the world developed internationally applicable standards based on international consensus. The standards set uniform, attainable expectations for structures, processes and outcomes for hospitals.
THE ELEVEN INTERNATIONAL HEALTHCARE STANDARDS Joint Commission standards focus on assessing organizational performance and stimulating continuous improvement to achieve optimum outcomes. JCIA evaluates compliance based on eleven defined key elements of an organization’s commitment to quality care. These include: Access to Care and Continuity of Care, Patients and Family Rights, Assessment of Patients, Care of Patients, Patient and Family Education, Quality Management and Improvement, Prevention and Control of Infection, Governance, Leadership and Direction, Facility Management and Safety, Staff Qualifications and Education, and Management of Information.
THE ACCREDITATION PROCESS An organization applying for Joint Commission International Accreditation (JCIA) submits documents containing a comprehensive description of the organization and essential information on ownership, demographics, types and volumes of services provided. The application for survey includes all official records, reports, and documents pertaining to licensing, regulatory and governmental requirements. A letter granting JCIA authority to obtain any records and reports not in the possession of the organization is also provided.
If the organization is eligible it is subjected to a rigid and thorough “accreditation survey” to evaluate the organization’s compliance to JCI standards. Accreditation surveys can take from three to five days, depending on the size and amount of information to be assessed. Compliance is evaluated based on interviews with staff and patients, on-site observation of patient care processes by the surveyors, and a review of policies, procedures, and other documents. During the on-site survey, continued self-assessment helps organizations identify and correct problems and improve quality of care and services. It is also during this time that organizations benefit from the team of surveyors – a Joint Commission-certified doctor, nurse and hospital administrator – all trained experts in their fields and able to provide education in support of quality improvement activities.
If an organization passes the survey, accreditation is valid for three years. An organization is expected to maintain the standards and quality improvement process. After three years, an organization must reapply and subject itself to another onsite survey by JCIA.
WHAT ACCREDITATION MEANS To be JCI-accredited is to be part of an elite group of health care providers worldwide. JCI accreditation is not a goal but a continuing journey towards excellent quality healthcare.
Now you know: In matters pertaining to healthcare, always look for the JCI seal.