Acute-care and critical-access hospitals will be required to develop a policy and procedure that enable healthcare staff to directly call for additional assistance when a patients condition appears to be worsening, and nearly every provider type will have to tackle the best ways to reduce the likelihood of patient harm that can come from the use of anti-coagulation therapy, under a series of new directives, released today, as part of the Joint Commissions 2008 National Patient Safety Goals.
Additionally, the Joint Commission added the World Health Organizations hand hygiene guidelines to its goal of reducing the risk of healthcare-associated infections. Before, only the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guidelines were considered acceptable.
Joint Commission President Dennis OLeary said that the goals help providers concentrate on priority areas where patient safety improvements are the greatest. Consistently putting these requirements into action will benefit millions of patients, he said.
Each new requirement has a one-year phase-in period, with full implementation expected by January 2009. The requirement to limit and standardize drug concentrations, which was part of the goal to improve medication safety, will be retired even though surveyors will continue to score for it. -- by Matthew DoBias