The Joint Commission and SGS Group are joining forces to offer hospitals in the United States the option of pursuing both accreditation and certification to various ISO and industry best practice standards beginning in early 2012.
The program combines The Joint Commission's modern health care quality and safety standards, survey process and accountability performance measures with SGS management system audits, including certification to the ISO 9001 quality management system standards. The combination of accreditation and ISO offers hospitals the tools to maintain best practices and lower costs across their entire operation while remaining focused on their core service of delivering quality health care to patients.
"We are providing this option for hospitals and critical access hospitals in the United States that are interested in exploring the combination of ISO education and certification with Joint Commission accreditation as a mechanism to more precisely identify system vulnerabilities and inefficiencies," says Ann Scott Blouin, RN, PhD, FACHE, executive vice president for accreditation and certification operations with the Joint Commission. "Future plans are to expand the option to organizations accredited under other Joint Commission accreditation programs."
"Providing this enhanced service to health care organizations through the alliance of SGS and The Joint Commission is a natural progression for health care performance improvement," adds Tony Perkins, senior vice president at SGS. "We are offering health care organizations an opportunity to take advantage of a number of ISO standards which complement Joint Commission accreditation requirements. This provides a method for hospitals to focus on improvements in quality and customer service in all departments, as well as their facility's impact on the environment."
The ISO option can be customized. Health care organizations can pursue certification at the system or hospital level, or certify departments such as radiology, laboratory, pharmacy, food service or health information management. All areas of an organization are eligible to be certified.
Hospitals have the option of selecting from a menu of certifications and testing including ISO 9001 (quality management system), ISO 14001 (environmental management), ISO 27001 (information security), OSHAS 18001 (occupational health and safety), ISO 17025 (testing and calibration laboratories) and food safety testing and certification.
The Joint Commission accreditation decision and the SGS ISO certification decision are separate. The survey activities of SGS and The Joint Commission can be combined during the organization's routine accreditation survey approximately every three years. A surveillance or recertification audit is conducted by SGS annually.