The article regarding the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organization's shortening of the accreditation cycle is interesting (June 12, p. 2). I empathize with a doctor who said he'd like to see the JCAHO "reconfigured. . . out of existence," but I wouldn't go quite that far.
However, it is at times very difficult to see how the volumes of paperwork required for JCAHO accreditation translate into improved quality of care. It sometimes seems that much of it is required simply to sustain the JCAHO's existence.
I do think the JCAHO is on to something though, especially in its efforts to become a valued service. In a way this acknowledges how many of us feel about the JCAHO. If it is successful in creating a valued service or commodity by shortening the accreditation cycle without increasing costs to hospitals, that would be good. Otherwise the change is nothing more than a means of increasing revenue for the JCAHO.
Hickory Starr Jr.
Service unit director, chief executive officer
W.W. Hastings Indian Hospital