The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare
Organizations says it will press ahead with its plan to
gather anonymous patient-level data and begin collecting
the information in the second quarter of 2007. Jerod Loeb, JCAHO
executive vice president for research, said the
data will be used to check accuracy and will not be
directly used for accreditation purposes.
Loeb explained that 92% of accredited hospitals already
provide this data to vendors -- referred to as "performance
measurement systems" -- which then aggregate the statistics
and pass them onto the JCAHO. He added that the JCAHO will
not know the specific hospital the patient-level data came
from -- only the vendor that provided it. The JCAHO
contracts with nearly 50 of these companies, and Loeb said
the onus of fixing data errors -- such as admittance dates
for babies before they were born -- will be on the vendors.
He acknowledged, however, that in some cases a hospital may
have to go back and re-abstract data that its vendor found
to be problematic.
The JCAHO does not have a specific error rate that it has
found in the data it collects, Loeb said, but he explained
that the data chain is very complex with many places where
mistakes can occur so there is always room for improvement.
Also, with the stronger links being developed between
reimbursement and the performance-measurement data collected by
the JCAHO and the CMS, Loeb said the stakes connected to
the data are being raised for all involved and so the need
for confidence in its accuracy has also increased.
"This isn't about data collection as an exercise," Loeb
said. "It's about collecting data to make care better."