Clinical and Industry News

The Joint Commission Announces 2009 National Patient Safety Goals for Laboratories

The Joint Commission today announced the 2009 update of the National Patient Safety Goals and related requirements for accredited laboratories. The National Patient Safety Goals promote specific improvements in patient safety by providing health care organizations with proven solutions to persistent patient safety problems. These Goals apply to the more than 15,000 Joint Commission-accredited and -certified health care organizations and programs. The 2009 Laboratory National Patient Safety Goals are: Improve the accuracy of patient identification. • Use at least two patient identifiers when providing laboratory services. • Prior to the start of any invasive procedure, individuals involved in the procedure conduct a final verification process, such as a time-out, to confirm the correct patient, procedure and site, using active, not passive, communication techniques. Improve the effectiveness of communication among caregivers. • For verbal or telephone orders or for telephone reporting of critical test results, the individual giving the order verifies the complete order or test result by having the person receiving the information record and “read-back” the complete order or test result. • There is a standardized list of abbreviations, acronyms, symbols, and dose designations that are not to be used throughout the organization. • The organization measures, assesses, and, if needed, takes action to improve the timeliness of reporting, and the timeliness of receipt of critical tests and critical results and values by the responsible licensed caregiver. • The organization implements a standardized approach to hand-off communications, including an opportunity to ask and respond to questions. Reduce the risk of health care-associated infections. • Comply with current World Health Organization (WHO) hand hygiene guidelines or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) hand hygiene guidelines. • Manage as sentinel events all identified cases of unanticipated death or major permanent loss of function related to a health care associated infection. Encourage patients’ active involvement in their own care as a patient safety strategy. • Identify the ways in which the patient and his or her family can report concerns about safety and encourage them to do so. The full text of the 2009 National Patient Safety Goals and requirements for all accreditation programs is posted on The Joint Commission’s website, Compliance with the requirements is a condition of continuing accreditation or certification for Joint Commission-accredited and -certified organizations.