Joint Commission International will conduct a three-location demonstration project to measure the effectiveness of its new quality- and safety-improvement program aimed at nonaccredited hospitals, group officials said.
The program, known as the International Essentials of Health Care Quality and Patient Safety, provides a framework for financially strapped, low-performing hospitals to design and implement risk-reduction programs, said David Jaimovich, Joint Commission Internationals chief medical officer.
International Essentials is available as a free, downloadable tool kit found on the groups Web site. But Jaimovich said the demonstration projectwhich will take place in China, Mexico and several Palestinian hospitalswill allow the accreditation-standards group to determine the most effective implementation method and gauge how significantly hospitals are able to reduce their risks in five areas: leader process and accountability; competent and capable workforce; safe environment for staff and patients; clinical care of patients; and improving quality and safety.
These are hospitals that are resource-challenged and may not be used to implementing strategies, Jaimovich said. We believe that this is the first step for them to start reducing risks.
Derick Pasternak, managing director of the units Middle East division, said while participation in the International Essentials risk-reduction program will not lead to any form of certification, healthcare providers in his region are eager to participate. Not every country is flush with resources, he said. At least half of the countries in North Africa can benefit from this project.
Asia healthcare policy expert Tsung-Mei Cheng, editor of the International Forum at Princetons Davis International Center, also sees benefit in the program. Right now, there are only a handful of Chinese hospitals that have gone through accreditation, and China very much is looking to update and upgrade its hospitals, so some international benchmarking I think would be enormously helpful, she said.
Details and a launch date for the demonstration project are still being worked out, but it should begin before the end of the year, Jaimovich said. Health ministries in each of the participating countries or regions will determine which hospitals will be involved in the project. Wed certainly like to see a cross section of large and small facilities, he said.
The four-phase demonstration project will include an assessment of the participating hospitals by Joint Commission International officials, education and training of staff, data collection and release of the outcomes.