JCAHO revises accreditation standards

Sunday, June 29, 2003

June 30, 2003

OAKBROOK TERRACE, ILL. - The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) unveiled substantially revised accreditation standards that sharpen the focus on processes critical to achieving safe, high quality care. These standards become effective January 1, 2004 for hospitals, home care organizations, ambulatory care clinics, behavioral health care organizations, laboratories and long term care organizations.

The new standards are the result of nearly two years of work to consolidate JCAHO requirements to reduce the paperwork and documentation burden of the accreditation process and increase its focus on patient safety and health care quality. The Standards Review Project does the following:

- Removes redundant requirements.

- Improves the clarity of standards, particularly with reference to safety and quality of care.

- Reduces requirements that can lead to unnecessary paperwork and documentation.

- Identifies “common” standards across accreditation manuals and creates consistent standards language when similar requirements exist.

“ Our goals were to reduce the number of standards and the associated paperwork burden, while enhancing the clarity and focus of standards on processes critical to providing safe, high quality care,” says Charles Mowll, executive vice president, business development, government and external relations, JCAHO. “Early feedback from health care organizations indicates that we are making substantial progress towards meeting these goals.”

The revised standards for hospital programs, for example, represent a 56% reduction in the numbers of standards.

The 2004 standards are posted on the JCAHO website, http://www.jcaho.org, and organizations can access them prior to publication of the official accreditation manuals this fall. A “crosswalk,” comparing the old standards with the new, is also available on the JCAHO website.