The Joint Commission ramps up focus on 4 high-risk areas

The Joint Commission surveyors adopted an entirely new approach to evaluating sterile medication compounding, suicide prevention, high-level disinfection and hemodialysis.

In a "Take 5" podcast, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Ana McKee, MD, shared what organizations should know:

1. The Joint Commission is more closely evaluating the four specified areas because surveyors saw an increase in immediate threats to patient safety. They also learned about severe sterilization process breaches that put patients at a high risk of contamination.

2. Organizations with failed surgical sterilization processes often don't know whether their patients have been affected, because an infected patient might not return to the original surgeon for treatment of that infection.

3. The Joint Commission encourages organization leaders to directly oversee the four high-risk areas. Leaders should provide adequate training, assess the staff competency, monitor correct equipment use and monitor proper environment maintenance.

4. The Joint Commission is sending a letter to the CEO of each accredited organization to notify them about increased attention on the four areas. It is also providing information in its Perspectives newsletter and on The Joint Commission website.

"Our goal is not to surprise our customers with the more thorough evaluation of these areas," Dr. McKee said. "We don't want this to be a secret. We really want to have our healthcare leaders focus their attention on these areas."

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