The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations disclosed a bug in a software program meant to guide hospitals and other healthcare facilities through the accreditation process and said it had posted a patch for the problem online.
The healthcare industry spends billions of dollars per year on information technology to improve quality. As IT proliferates, however, there have been a growing number of instances in which the technology creates, rather than solves, a problem.
The Accreditation Manager Plus software has been on the market for about two years, sold by the JCAHO's not-for-profit subsidiary, Joint Commission Resources. The problem stems from a program update released May 27 and potentially affects more than 1,800 customers, JCAHO spokesman Mark Forstneger said. Those include more than 1,300 hospitals, as well as outpatient facilities, behavioral health facilities, home-care agencies and nursing homes.
The software is supposed to alert providers doing a self-assessment for the JCAHO's Periodic Performance Review process of any deficiencies serious enough to require a follow-up report. The bug kept the alert function from being turned on, Forstneger said. The problem occurs only in the enhanced software program sold by Joint Commission Resources and not in the free program offered by the JCAHO.
The software sells for $495 to $3,595, depending on whether the buyer is a first- time user or updating or buying individual or multiple licenses, according to the Joint Commission Resources' Web site.
Forstneger said the patch, supplied to users via the Internet, would fix the problem in a matter of seconds.