The Joint Commission responds to study casting doubt on accreditation benefits — 7 takeaways

The Joint Commission released a statement refuting a study published in the BMJ that questioned the benefits of accreditation.

Here's what you should know:

1. Researchers examined 4,400 U.S. hospitals, 3,337 of which were accredited (2,847 by The Joint Commission). They also studied 1,063 hospitals that underwent state-based review between 2014 and 2017. The study was meant to determine whether accredited hospitals had superior patient outcomes.

2. The researchers found "accredited hospitals do not seem to be providing better care," Ashish K. Jha, MD, MPH, wrote in an article on The JAMA Forum.

"We need to reexamine the standards required for accreditation to ensure that they are promoting what's actually important: the health, safety and optimal experience of patient," Dr. Jha concluded.

3. In response, The Joint Commission said the study's methodology biased the results against accredited hospitals.

4. The Joint Commission noted the state-surveyed hospitals and Joint Commission-accredited hospitals were "radically different" groups, rendering comparisons between them invalid.

Most hospitals in the state-surveyed group had fewer than 100 beds, and the group excluded major teaching hospitals. In contrast, the Joint Commission-accredited group included primarily large hospitals and more than 200 major teaching hospitals.

5. The Joint Commission also pointed out four of the six "common and costly surgical procedures" examined in the study are rarely performed in hospitals with fewer than 100 beds.

6. The research also didn't account for the severity of illnesses upon hospital admission, which is a strong predictor of fatality risk.

7. However, The Joint Commission said the data showed The Joint Commission-accredited hospitals had lower mortality and readmission rates than state-surveyed hospitals. The differences translate to 12,000 fewer deaths and 24,000 fewer readmissions at The Joint Commission-accredited hospitals, the organization extrapolated.

"In the end, the data aligns with more than 100 studies demonstrating positive impact and improved healthcare through Joint Commission accreditation and certification. The large number of scientific studies of the value of accreditation, and the overwhelming majority show benefits," The Joint Commission concluded.

More articles on accreditation:
AAAHC accredited center to know: Alaska Surgery Center
3 key things for ASCs to know about the AAAHC's 2018 quality roadmap report
AAAHC-accredited center to know: Bardmoor Surgery Center

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