The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations is doing on-site audits of information system vendors who have submitted their programs for use in the Oryx performance initiative.
So far, the JCAHO's Council on Performance Measurement has certified 99 information products for use in submitting data to show quality improvement in hospitals. Sixty were certified in the first round of applications in February and 39 more were accepted in July.
This week the council will consider another 127 applications.
"We are staying true to our commitment that anyone who qualifies can play," said Dennis O'Leary, M.D., the JCAHO's president, in a presentation in Chicago on Friday.
But he said, "We have some concerns" about whether all the information systems really work as described. Therefore, the accreditation agency has launched an audit process to verify the claims of system vendors in a series of on-site visits.
The Joint Commission has completed nine such audits of the first group of 60 acceptances. The audits started in March.
The Joint Commission unveiled Oryx in February after several years of false starts in figuring out how to weave performance measurement into the accreditation process.
Beginning in the first quarter of 1999, hospitals and long-term-care organizations will have to submit data on at least two clinical measures that relate to at least 20% of the facility's patient population. The amount of data they must submit grows over time. Providers may choose from a large assortment of vendors and information system products, which are being certified by the Joint Commission for use with the Oryx program.
One well-established vendor, who spoke on condition of anonymity, commented: "The Joint Commission fears they have been sold some vaporware. And they have. They want to kick the tires. They have already disqualified two vendors."
A spokeswoman for the Joint Commission in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill., said it isn't correct that two vendors were disqualified. One went out of business, and another one dropped out, she said.