The Joint Commission, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1951, evaluates and accredits more than 20,000 healthcare organizations and programs in the United States (currently about 82 percent of U.S. hospitals have the Gold Seal). Accreditation is strictly voluntary(1). There are no laws requiring certification, but it is a highly desirable accolade for hospitals. It elevates their prestige by announcing to the community a proven dedication to patient safety and care quality.
The Joint Commission’s mission is “To continuously improve healthcare for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating healthcare organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value.”(2)
In pursuit of this mission, beyond the accreditation process itself, the organization has published an annual list of National Patient Safety Goals (NPSG) since 2002. The purpose of this list is to highlight specific points within the healthcare spectrum that, if given a stronger focus, will have a significant impact on improving healthcare for the public.
On the original list from 2002, NPSG 2 was to: “Improve the effectiveness of communication among caregivers.” Ever since, communication among caregivers has remained on the list, and was expanded in 2005 to include a more detailed focus on critical test results.
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