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The Joint Commission

Health Care

The Joint Commission Launches Targeted Solutions Tool

Provides a step-by-step process to measure hospital performance and identify barriers to excellence

Published: Monday, September 13, 2010 - 12:03

(The Joint Commission: Oakbrook Terrace, IL) -- For the first time, Joint Commission-accredited hospitals have access to an interactive tool that simplifies the process for solving the most persistent health care quality and safety problems that exist within the U.S. health care system. The Targeted Solutions Tool (TST), which encapsulates the work of the Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare, provides a step-by-step process to measure performance, identify barriers to excellent performance, and implement proven solutions.

The first set of targeted solutions, created by eight of the country’s leading hospitals and health care systems that worked with the center, is for improving hand hygiene. The TST provides accredited hospitals the foundation and framework of an improvement method that, if implemented well, will improve an organization’s hand-hygiene compliance and contribute substantially to its efforts to reduce the frequency of health care-associated infections. The complementary data-driven tool provides validated and customized solutions to address an organization’s particular barriers to excellent performance. Self-paced and confidential, the TST offers instantaneous data analysis.

“I encourage hospital leaders to use these tools to identify very specific ways to improve their hand hygiene programs,” says Dr. Mark R. Chassin, president of The Joint Commission. “Consistent excellence in hand hygiene is vital to our larger aim of eliminating preventable health care-associated infections. The Targeted Solutions Tool provides hospitals with powerful new knowledge and methods they can use right away to make substantial advances toward this goal.”

At the start of the project in April 2009, the participating hospitals were surprised to learn that their rate of hand hygiene compliance averaged 48 percent. By June 2010 they had reached an average rate of 82 percent that had been sustained for eight months. Nineteen small, medium, and large hospitals across the country also collaborated with the center to test the work of the original eight hospitals and provide guidance on the development of the solutions that are now available through the TST. These hospitals are experiencing similar gains as the original eight.

“Health care technology today is advanced and expensive,” says Anita Walden, vice president of nursing at Decatur General in Alabama, who was involved in testing the TST. “It is inspiring to direct our focus back to the basics of proper hand washing, an inexpensive but critically effective tool, in fighting infection. We anticipate our quality of patient care to increase as the threat of infection decreases,” 

“Using the TST has revitalized and re-energized our organization’s ongoing hand hygiene education activities, engaging leadership and staff. It has created enthusiasm and raised awareness about new approaches and helpful solutions,” says Mary Ann Barnes, senior vice president and executive director of the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals in San Diego, a pilot site for the TST. “From the training materials to the step-by-step approach, to the collection tool to the analysis provided online, this tool is straightforward in nature and thorough in execution.”

As issues such as wrong-site surgery, surgical-site infections, and hand-off communications are tackled through the center, the solutions developed by the projects will be incorporated into the TST.

The center is grateful for the generous leadership and support of the American Hospital Association, BD, Ecolab, GE Healthcare, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Johnson & Johnson, and Medline, as well as the support of GOJO Industries Inc., and The Federation of American Hospitals.

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The Joint Commission

Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission is an independent, nonprofit organization that accredits and certifies more than 19,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. It is the nation’s oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. It seeks to continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value.