Joint Commission releases 2009 National Patient Safety Goals

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The Joint Commission has released its 2009 National Patient Safety Goals and related requirements for its accreditation programs and Disease-Specific Care Certification Program.

The National Patient Safety Goals promote improvements in patient safety by providing healthcare organizations with proven solutions to persistent patient safety problems. The goals apply to the more than 15,000 Joint Commission-accredited and Joint Commission-certified healthcare organizations and programs.

Major changes for 2009 include three new hospital and critical access hospital requirements related to preventing deadly healthcare-associated infections due to multiple drug-resistant organisms, central line-associated bloodstream infections and surgical site infections. The additions build on an existing National Patient Safety Goal to reduce the risk of healthcare-associated infections, and recognize that patients continue to acquire preventable infections at an alarming rate within hospitals.

The Joint Commission said its new requirements related to central line-associated bloodstream infections also will take effect for ambulatory care facilities and office-based surgery practices, home care organizations and long-term care organizations. In addition, prevention of surgical site infections will be a new requirement for ambulatory care facilities and office-based surgery practices. The new infection-related requirements have a one-year phase-in period that includes defined milestones, with full implementation expected by Jan. 1, 2010.

“The 2009 National Patient Safety Goals represent ongoing opportunities for improvement that can immediately benefit patients,” says Mark R. Chassin, MD, MPP, MPH, president of the Joint Commission. “By taking action to consistently meet the goals, healthcare organizations can substantially improve patient safety in America.”

The Joint Commission said a revision of the requirements for the existing medication reconciliation goal is based on feedback obtained from a Medication Reconciliation Summit convened in late 2007 and is included in the 2009 update.

The requirements associated with the existing Universal Protocol, initiated to help prevent errors in surgical and non-invasive surgical procedures, were also improved for 2009, according to the Joint Commission. The Universal Protocol is used by hospitals, critical access hospitals, disease-specific care organizations, ambulatory care facilities and office-based surgery practices.