Patient Safety Is the Focus of New Guidance from Health Care Accreditation Group

Seattle Medical Malpractice Lawyers

With the express purpose of improving patient safety by preventing health-care errors and adverse effects, The Joint Commission has made available online the new “Patient Safety Systems” chapter of the 2015 Comprehensive Accreditation Manual for Hospitals.

The Joint Commission, founded in 1951, is the oldest and largest health-care standards-setting and accrediting body in the U.S. The patient safety(PS) chapter contains no new requirements, but rather uses existing agency standards as a blueprint that health-care leaders should follow to create an integrated patient-centered safety system.

Standards Available Free Online for the First Time

“For the first time, The Joint Commission is providing a standards chapter on our website because this information is so important that we want everyone to have access to it.A solid foundation for patient safety is a safety culture,” Dr. Ana Pujols McKee, executive vice president and chief medical officer at The Joint Commission,said in a media release.

The patient-safety blueprint emphasizes a top-down approach because, according to The Joint Commission, strong leadership is critical to building a safety culture that emphasizes improving processes and systems, standardizing interdisciplinary team communication, and integrating technologies.

“Developing a culture of safety starts at the top of the chain of command, and then works its way through the layers of management and employees to build trust which is an essential ingredient for improvement,” Dr. McKeesaid. “In order for improvement to take root and spread, leaders need to be engaged and know the current state of the culture in their organization.”

‘Do No Harm’

To fulfill health care’s primary obligation to “do no harm,” The Joint Commission patient-safety chapter emphasizes three guiding principles:

  • Align existing agency standards with daily work in order to continually engage patients and staff on harm reduction.
  • Recommend quality and safety improvement processes by assisting health-care organizations with the advancement of knowledge, skills, and competence.
  • Encourage and recommend proactive methods of quality and patient safety that increase accountability, trust, and knowledge, and reduce the impact of fear and blame.

The chapter also identifies and expands upon the following components of a quality health-care management system:

  • Ensuring, reliable processes.
  • Decreasing waste.
  • Focusing on improved outcomes.
  • Basing satisfactory service on evidence.

Although designed for members of a hospital’s C-suite, the publication (available for download here) is available for free to anyone who wants it, and is a valuable tool for patients who wish to be more proactive in their safety.

Another way patients can be more proactive in ensuring quality health care for all is to discuss a hospital adverse event – suchas a birth injury, misdiagnosis, or surgical error – with an experienced medical malpractice attorney.

Schedule a free consultation with the Seattle malpractice lawyers at Morrow Kidman Tinker Macey-Cushman, PLLC, by calling us or contacting us online.