Joint Commission: more administrator involvement is key to improving healthcare quality

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The Joint Commission recently emphasized the need for more involvement from healthcare administrators, executives and trustees in preventing medical errors. It also recommended using successful methods from other industries to improve quality in healthcare.

"Health care organizations have not developed the 'zero-defect' safety interventions seen in other high-risk industries such as aviation, energy and manufacturing," according to the Joint Commission's Sentinel Event Alert issued last week. Involved administrators, physician leaders and other figures of authority can drive improvements in quality through implementing fair policies to deal with sentinel events, according to the Joint Commission, which cited its own study from 2006 showing 50% of sentinel events stem from inadequate leadership.

The Sentinel Event Alert recommended a number of steps for healthcare leaders to improve quality. These include defining and establishing an organization-wide safety culture that includes a code of conduct for all employees; instituting an organization-wide policy of transparency that sheds light on all adverse events and patient safety issues within the organization; and making the organization's overall safety performance a key, measurable part of the evaluation of the CEO and all leadership.

To read the entire Joint Commission Sentinel Event Alert, go to