News | June 25, 2007

The Joint Commission Announces 2008 National Patient Safety Goals

June 26, 2007 - The Joint Commission recently announced the 2008 National Patient Safety Goals and related requirements that will apply specifically to accredited hospitals and critical access hospitals.

Major changes in this sixth annual issuance of National Patient Safety Goals include a new requirement to take specific actions to reduce the risks of patient harm associated with the use of anticoagulant therapy and a new goal and requirement that addresses the recognition of and response to unexpected deterioration in a patient’s condition. These changes were recently approved by the Joint Commission’s Board of Commissioners.

The new anticoagulant therapy requirement addresses a widely-acknowledged patient safety problem and becomes a key element of the Goal: Improve the safety of using medications. It is applicable to hospitals, critical access hospitals, ambulatory care and office-based surgery settings, and home care and long term care organizations. The new Goal and Requirement respecting the deteriorating patient will ask hospitals and critical access hospitals to select a suitable method for enabling care-givers to directly request and obtain assistance from a specially-trained individual(s) if and when a patient’s condition worsens. Each of the foregoing new Requirements has a one-year phase-in period that includes defined milestones. Full implementation is targeted for January 2009.

Additionally, the Requirement related to hand hygiene has been expanded to permit use of the World Health Organization (WHO) Hand Hygiene Guidelines as an alternative to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.

Finally, the Requirement to limit and standardize drug concentrations that is part of the Goal to improve the safety of using medications will be retired as a National Patient Safety Goal, but organization compliance will continue to be evaluated as part of Medication Management standards compliance.

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