Joint Commission International Marks Ten Years of Global Accreditation

Wilmette, Illinois, UNITED STATES

OAKBROOK, IL--(Marketwire - November 16, 2009) - Joint Commission International (JCI) is marking the tenth anniversary of the first health care organization to be awarded accreditation under its globally developed international standards for hospitals.

Established to respond to a growing demand around the world for standards-based evaluation of quality in health care, today JCI accredits or certifies more than 300 health care organizations and clinical care programs in 39 countries. JCI offers accreditation programs for hospitals, clinical laboratories, continuum of care (non-acute care settings such as home care), medical transport, ambulatory care, and primary care. JCI also offers a certification program for disease- or condition-specific clinical care programs. JCI's accreditation standards are the first and only international sets of standards that apply to health care organizations worldwide while still accommodating cultural differences.

In December 1999, Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein, a private, non-profit, non-governmental facility in Sao Paulo, Brazil, was the first hospital accredited by JCI under the international standards. The hospital has also since achieved JCI Disease- or Condition-Specific Care Certification for its stroke program.

JCI's thorough accreditation process focuses on determining whether a health care facility has the right systems and processes in place to support high quality and safe patient care and has the culture and capacity to continuously improve patient care. JCI's expert surveyors examine crucial issues such as the safe use of medications, infection prevention and control, and patient assessment and patient rights. This rigorous process requires hospitals and other health care organizations to demonstrate a track record of standards compliance and relies on candid interviews with patients, families and staff about care practices. JCI's accreditation process addresses health care organization management and incorporates standards related to quality improvement and patient safety, governance, leadership and direction, facility management and safety, staff qualifications and education, and management of information. The on-site accreditation process focuses on each organization's range of specialties and services.

"Quality and safety challenges know no borders, and health care organizations around the world want to create environments that focus on quality, safety and continuous improvement," says Karen H. Timmons, president and CEO, JCI. "Accreditation meets this demand by stimulating continuous, systematic improvements in a hospital's performance and the outcomes of patient care. Health care organizations that have achieved JCI accreditation have made a public commitment to quality and patient safety."

"Health care is a basic human right," says Claudio Luiz Lottenberg, M.D., CEO and President of the Board of Trustees, Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein. "And JCI is the barometer for quality and safety as we meet patient needs."

JCI is the international arm of The Joint Commission. For more than 50 years, The Joint Commission has worked to improve the quality and safety of health care services. Today, as the largest accreditor of health care organizations in the United States, The Joint Commission accredits and certifies more than 17,000 health care organizations through a voluntary process and is recognized as a leader in all aspects of safe, high quality care.

JCI, which is accredited by The International Society for Quality in Health Care (ISQua), extends The Joint Commission mission worldwide. In addition to accreditation, JCI has extended its efforts to promote safe, quality care over the years through:

--  The International Essentials for Quality and Patient Safety -- for
    hospitals starting the quality journey or facing the challenges of
    providing high quality, safe patient care despite limited equipment or
    financial and human resources. The Essentials help organizations begin the
    process of designing and implementing a risk reduction program that will
    lead to improved patient safety.
--  WHO Collaborating Centre for Patient Safety Solutions -- The World
    Health Organization (WHO) redesignated The Joint Commission and JCI as the
    world's first  WHO Collaborating Centre for Patient Safety Solutions,
    dedicated solely to patient safety. The Centre focuses worldwide attention
    on patient safety and best practices that can reduce safety risks to
    patients. The Collaborating Centre coordinates efforts to spread these
    solutions as broadly as possible internationally through its work with
    ministries of health, patient safety experts, national agencies on patient
    safety, health care professional associations, and consumer organizations.
    In 2007 the Collaborating Centre launched nine solutions that are
    applicable to a wide variety of countries and health care settings; the
    next solution is scheduled to be released this fall.

Joint Commission International (JCI) was established in 1997 as a division of Joint Commission Resources, Inc. (JCR), a wholly controlled, not-for-profit affiliate of The Joint Commission. Through international accreditation, consultation, publications and education programs, JCI extends The Joint Commission's mission worldwide by helping to improve the quality of patient care. JCI assists international health care organizations, public health agencies, health ministries and others in more than 60 countries.

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Contact Information: Media Contact: Ken Powers Media Relations Manager 630-792-5175