The Joint Commission conducts unannounced on-site inspections through surveys at hospitals every 18 to 36 months. The inspections take a week, and the surveyors collect data on patient safety, infection control, medication management, or more. These surveys are a big deal, because they are how the Joint Commission makes decisions on accreditation. Should a hospital lose accreditation, it can affect its reputation, or even result in censure or closure. When a hospital is being surveyed, its employees know, and hospitals now often make it a point to train staff in “survey readiness”.
A new paper in JAMA Internal Medicine looked at how hospital behavior changes when these surveys are being conducted. They didn’t just look at process measures, though; they looked at how patient outcomes changed. Specifically, they looked at how outcomes differed on survey weeks versus non-survey weeks.
Go read more about it in my latest post over at the AcademyHealth blog.