Perceptions and misconceptions regarding the Joint Commission's view of quality monitoring.Am J Infect Control 1989; 17(5):231-40AJ
The Joint Commission recently has revised its hospital standards for infection control to reflect more accurately current state-of-the-art practices. In addition, the Joint Commission's Agenda for Change initiatives include the development of clinical indicators; one of the topics that will be included in those clinical indicator sets will be infection control. How the hospital chooses to organize itself to conduct the historically required monitoring and evaluation of clinical patient care currently required by the standards of the Joint Commission is at the option of the hospital. How the hospital will organize and collect data specific to infection control indicators yet to be developed by the Joint Commission has not been determined and will not be defined until specific research and development projects are completed. The hospital is expected to have in place infection prevention, surveillance, and control programs; it also is expected to have in place a quality assurance program that focuses not only on solving identified problems but also on the improvement of patient care quality. How the hospitals organize and/or integrate these activities is also at its option. It is expected that qualified professionals will direct and enforce infection prevention, surveillance, and control practices; indicators for infection control can provide data that will help assess the relative success of those practices and activities. The Joint Commission is not developing the capability to judge, on its own part, the actual quality of care provided by an organization seeking accreditation. Rather, the Joint Commission is committed to developing more accurate means to evaluate the structures, processes, and outcomes of diagnosis and treatment activities, as well as their interrelationships. Clinical excellence is supported by quality in the organizational environment and the managerial and leadership contexts within which patient care is delivered. Both clinical and organizational excellence are essential components of quality, and the Joint Commission is convinced that it is appropriate and timely to undertake more direct assessments of both.