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TJC Takes Aim at Patient Safety Failures

November 13, 2009
The leading web portal for pharmacy resources, news, education and careers November 13, 2009 Pharmacy News Article 11/1/09 - [MEA]-News Briefs TJC takes aim at patient safety failures The Joint Commission (TJC) says it is teaming up with top hospitals and health systems across the United States to use new methods to find the causes of and put a stop to dangerous and potentially deadly breakdowns in patient care. TJC, based in Oakbrook Terrace, IL, is launching the Center for Transforming Healthcare, and the organization says its first initiative is tackling hand-washing failures that contribute to health care-associated infections that kill nearly 100,000 Americans each year and cost U.S. hospitals $4 billion to $29 billion annually to combat. Eight hospitals and health systems volunteered to address hand-washing failures as a critical patient safety problem "one that requires fixes far more complex than just putting up signs urging caregivers to wash their hands." "Demanding that health care workers try harder is not the answer. These health care organizations have the courage to step forward to tackle the problem of hand washing by digging deep to find out where the breakdowns take place, so we can create targeted solutions that will work now and keep working in the future," said Mark R. Chassin, MD, MPP, MPH, president of The Joint Commission, in a news release. Participants in the center's first project are: ?Cedars-Sinai Health System, Los Angeles ?Exempla Lutheran Medical Center, Wheat Ridge, Colorado ?Froedtert Hospital, Milwaukee ?The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System, Baltimore ?Memorial Hermann Health Care System, Houston ?Trinity Health, Novi, MI ?Virtua, Marlton, NJ ?Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, Winston-Salem, NC. Certification for medical interpreters launches A national certification program is being launched for language interpreters who work in the medical field, called the first National Certification for Medical Interpreters. The CMI designation will first be available to Spanish-language interpreters, with national certification rolling out for several other languages in 2010. "Hospitals across the country should provide their patients with qualified interpreters that can prevent the miscommunications and subsequent medical errors that still occur far too often in some of today's hospitals," said Mursal Khalif, senior director of multilingual services, Cambridge Health Alliance, Cambridge, MA. "A national certification for medical interpreters has been desperately needed to ensure the safety of LEP patients, and I am extremely delighted that we now have a national standard in place." The launch of the certification program was reported simultaneously with the inaugural members of the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters, which says it is an independent, non-profit certification entity, founded to oversee the certification process. TJC issues Sentinel Event Alert A Sentinel Event Alert issued in late August by The Joint Commission (TJC) urges health care leaders to step up efforts to prevent errors by taking the zero-defect approach used in other high-risk industries, such as aviation and nuclear energy. TJC is advocating greater involvement of health care trustees, executives, and physician leaders, contending that the overall safety and effectiveness of a health care facility depends on administrative and clinical leaders who set the tone, create the culture, and drive improvements. "Health care leaders are directly responsible for establishing a culture of safety," says Mark R. Chassin, MD, MPP, MPH, president of TJC. "This alert provides leaders with concrete strategies for demonstrating a commitment to safety and to improving patient outcomes." To improve patient safety, TJC's Sentinel Event Alert recommends that the governing body, CEO, senior managers, and medical staff leaders at health care organizations take a series of 14 specific steps. SOURCE-Medical Ethics Advisor (c) 2009 AHC Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.