Joint Commission journal to issue themed editions on top challenges in 2024

As part of its 50th anniversary, The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety will supplement its regular monthly issues in 2024 with additional article collections focused on top challenges in healthcare. The first issue was published Jan. 4 and features original articles, review articles and reports aimed at supporting hospitals and health systems in taking a "systems-based" approach to health equity. 

One of the key studies included in the edition used patient safety incident reports from a large academic hospital to analyze racial and ethnic maternal care disparities at a systems level. Researchers looked at 528 incidents reported in the organization's labor and delivery unit and antepartum and postpartum unit from 2019 to 2020. 

Overall, non-Hispanic Black patients accounted for 43.2% of incident reports but made up only 36.5% of the underlying birthing population, researchers found. These patients accounted for the majority of events including falls, complications of care, infrastructure failures, medical records/patient identification issues and transfusions.

While hospital and health system leaders may recognize these challenges at the national and state levels, they may be unaware of the extent of maternal care disparities within their own organizations, researchers said, pointing to their findings as evidence for the value of using incident reporting system data to pinpoint and address disparities.

"Greater integration of patient safety and health equity efforts in hospitals are needed to promptly identify and alleviate racial and ethnic disparities in maternal health outcomes," study authors said. 

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