For quite some time now, this column has brought Joint Commission-related news and information to surgeons. In the last year, the column has covered a variety of relevant topics, including guidelines related to the prevention of retained surgical items, surgical site infections, and wrong site surgery, as well as the important role of surgeons in standards development and on-site survey processes.
As a new member of The Joint Commission’s Board of Commissioners, appointed by the American College of Surgeons (ACS), I have come to believe that the connection between The Joint Commission and surgeons could be expanded beyond these topics. With that in mind, I would like “A look at The Joint Commission” to take a new direction over the coming year. My intention is to continue to keep Bulletin readers informed of relevant developments in surgical care, patient safety, and related Joint Commission initiatives and resources but, at the same time, I also plan to contribute my own thoughts and opinions with regard to those topics as they affect surgeons and to add perspectives on other topics, such as surgeon fatigue and sleep deprivation, enhanced patient recovery after surgery, and the effect of accountable care organizations on surgeons.
Since joining the Board of Commissioners, I have had the opportunity to become more familiar with The Joint Commission and its initiatives to improve patient safety and quality of care—issues that are top priorities for surgeons. Through this column, I look forward to identifying additional ways that The Joint Commission and surgeons can work together to ensure optimal patient safety and reach the goal of zero harm.
In addition to covering topics related to patient safety and quality care, I look forward to informing ACS members about my responsibilities and activities as a member of The Joint Commission’s Board of Commissioners. As the commission’s governing body, the board provides policy leadership and oversight. Board members serve three-year terms, renewable for up to nine years. Each member of the board governs with a dedication to The Joint Commission’s mission to continuously improve health care for the public in collaboration with other stakeholders by evaluating health care institutions and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care.
A total of 21 Commissioners are appointed by The Joint Commission’s five member organizations: the ACS, American Hospital Association, American Medical Association, American College of Physicians, and American Dental Association. Representatives from six additional groups serve as public members and four as at-large members representing behavioral health care, home care, long-term care, and nursing care. As health care continues to expand, it is increasingly important for members of the health care community to strengthen their relationships with one another and to work collaboratively to bring about positive change for patients.
I hope you’ll enjoy the new direction of “A look at The Joint Commission” and find this column to be a valuable resource in your everyday practice. I invite your questions, comments, and suggestions on topics related to The Joint Commission, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.