Joint Commission-accredited academic medical centers (AMCs) will see new criteria for medical education and clinical research incorporated into the evaluation process. The new standards for AMCs were issued on July 1, 2012 and will be effective for all eligible organizations on January 1, 2013.
An independent, not-for-profit organization, The Joint Commission accredits and certifies more than 19,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. Joint Commission accreditation and certification is recognized nationwide as a symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s commitment to meeting certain performance standards.
“These standards were also developed to present a framework for including medical education and human subject research into the quality and patient safety activities of academic medical center hospitals,” Paul vanOstenberg, JCI's vice president of International Accreditation, Standards and Measurement, said today in a statement. “These standards were also developed to present a framework for including medical education and human subject research into the quality and patient safety activities of academic medical center hospitals. Unless deliberately included in the quality framework, education and research activities often are the unnoticed partners in patient care quality monitoring and improvement.”
To meet the eligibility criteria, hospitals must be organizationally or administratively integrated with a medical school, serve as the principal site for the education of both medical students and medical specialty residents from the integrated medical school, and conduct academic and/or commercial human subject research involving patients of the hospital.
Meanwhile, those considered AMCs must make sure to carefully explore mergers, acquisitions and affiliations to survive in the consolidating healthcare environment, advised Healthcare Strategies & Solutions, noted Becker's Hospital Review.
To achieve clinical growth and fulfill their academic mission, academic medical centers need to take a proactive approach to finding the most suitable partner. A March report from consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) recommended academic medical centers team up with high-quality, low-cost providers like community hospitals.
The new standards applicable to academic medical centers are divided into two chapters – Medical Professional Education (MPE) and Human Subject Research Programs (HRP) – as medical education and clinical research are most frequently organized and administered separately within academic medical centers. For all hospitals meeting the eligibility criteria, these two chapters will be a required addition to the Joint Commission International Accreditation Standards for Hospitals, 4th Edition.
These new standards will be integrated into the evaluation process for the accreditation of hospitals. For example, when the on-site evaluators are reviewing patient care in a clinical unit, they will also evaluate the contribution of medical trainees to care processes in that unit, and the integration of clinical research protocols into the care provided on the unit and the quality monitoring processes.
Not every hospital with students or conducting research is considered an academic medical center hospital under these new standards, according to vanOstenberg. JCI will evaluate hospitals under the academic medical center hospitals requirements when the hospital:
- Is organizationally or administratively integrated with a medical school;
- Is the principal site for the education of both medical students and medical specialty residents from the medical school noted in the previous criterion; and
- Conducts academic and/or commercial human subject research involving patients of the hospital.