In the News

TJC Launches Center for Transforming Healthcare

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September 14, 2009

The Joint Commission has just launched a new center aimed at finding and stopping dangerous and potentially deadly breakdowns in patient care.

First up for the Center for Transforming Healthcarewill be increasing compliance with hand washing in the nation’s hospitals. Eight hospitals are participating in the project:

  • Cedars-Sinai Health System, Los Angeles, CA
  • Exempla Lutheran Medical Center, Wheat Ridge, CO
  • Froedtert Hospital, Milwaukee, WI
  • The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System, Baltimore, MD
  • Memorial Hermann Health Care System, Houston, TX
  • Trinity Health, Novi, MI
  • Virtua, Marlton, NJ
  • Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, Winston-Salem, NC

These hospitals have already assessed their hand washing compliance, finding on average, caregivers washed their hands less than 50% of the time.

Targeted solutions now being tested in these facilities include:

  • Holding everyone accountable and responsible—doctors, nurses, food service staff, housekeepers, chaplains, technicians, therapists.
  • Using a reliable method to measure performance.
  • Communicating frequently and using real time performance feedback.
  • Tailoring education in proper hand hygiene for specific disciplines.

“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,” says TJC President Mark R. Chassin, MD, MPP, MPH. “A comprehensive approach is the only solution to preventing bad patient outcomes.”

The next project to be tackled by the Center will be breakdowns in hand-off communications. From there, the Center will focus on improving other aspects of infection control, mix-ups in patient identification, and medication errors.

The Center is using Robust Process Improvement™ tools to develop solutions to these problems. The goal is to transform health care into a high-reliability industry, with rates of adverse events and breakdowns in routine safety processes comparable to air travel or nuclear energy.