Joint Commission CEO details new certifications

The Joint Commission is known for setting the standards for quality patient care across the healthcare industry. Achieving accreditation, certification or even voluntary certifications from the body serves as proof that an organization has achieved some of the highest standards in care practices. 

The 72-year-old organization continues to launch new programs, voluntary certifications, and resources to equip hospitals each year with what they need to perform as a top-tier system in today's healthcare landscape. 

"My favorite quote is from Albert Einstein, he said: 'Not everything that can be counted counts and not everything that counts can be counted.' My goal for our organization is to put the focus on those things that count most," Jonathan Perlin, MD, PhD, president and CEO of The Joint Commission Enterprise told Becker's.

The Joint Commission has launched three new, voluntary certifications for hospitals since June, including: sustainable healthcare, memory care, and healthcare equity

While these three priorities have long been talked about in healthcare, Dr. Perlin explained the decision to launch these three certifications grew from a combination of identifying need across the healthcare space and requests from healthcare organizations for a specific certification of this kind.

"These are three critically important areas," he said. "I think all of us have been aware of the disparities in healthcare around health outcomes across our country, and frankly, around the world. What was always unacceptable became intolerable during the height of the pandemic. We really felt disruptions for the most vulnerable patients." 

Dr. Perlin said taking note of some of these key areas of disruption and need in healthcare, informed the organization about what to launch next.

"So, not only did we launch a certification in healthcare equity, and sustainability, but we also launched standards in the Accreditation Program, which we elevated to National Patient Safety in the area of memory care," Dr. Perlin said. "One of the most rapidly expanding chronic conditions are illnesses which result in dementia, especially Alzheimer's." Specifically, with its latest launch of the sustainable healthcare certification, which will fully launch in January 2024, Dr. Perlin explained that launching it aligns with healthcare workers' and organizational efforts to "do good." 

"In the United States nearly 9 percent of global greenhouse gases come from the healthcare sector… So we know that we have an obligation to do better, because we all came to healthcare to do good to help people," Dr. Perlin said. "But as an unwanted side effect of our good intentions, we are contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change."

Within the new sustainability certification, hospitals can choose three of seven areas to begin measuring and tracking progress on toward reducing in an effort to achieve the latest goal set by the organization. Those areas include: fuel, electricity, anesthetic gas, pressurized metered dose inhalers, fleet vehicles, carbon fuel and waste disposal.

Looking ahead, Dr. Perlin confirmed that The Joint Commission does intend to launch more voluntary certification programs for both non-accredited and accredited hospitals in 2024.

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