Collaboration to improve quality of total hip and total knee replacement programs

Participation in a new collaboration between The Joint Commission and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS)—the world’s largest medical association of musculoskeletal specialists—may prove advantageous for orthopaedic surgeons and their patients. Through this partnership, AAOS clinical experts inform Joint Commission standards and performance measurement processes applied through The Joint Commission’s Total Hip and Total Knee Replacement (THKR) Certification program for hospitals, critical access hospitals, and ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs). The purpose of this new venture is to enhance the quality of care for the increasing number of patients undergoing hip and knee replacement operations.

The benefit of this certification program for surgeons who perform these operations and the health care institutions where these procedures are provided is an assurance that Joint Commission requirements are consistent with the most current scientific evidence.

As part of this new partnership, The Joint Commission and AAOS will jointly oversee:

  • Scientific issues
  • Performance measurement
  • Quality improvement activities
  • Education
  • Data sharing
  • Research

All of these activities will be carried out with a continued commitment to routinely assessing and evaluating the quality and safety benefits for orthopaedic patients.

The Joint Commission and AAOS have worked collaboratively for many years, including on initiatives to reduce wrong site, wrong person, and wrong procedure operations. The Joint Commission uses technical advisory panels and field engagement to keep certification programs current, and with the THKR program, The Joint Commission intended to have the leading voice for orthopaedic specialists involved in the development of standards and performance measures.

New requirement for certification

In addition to the collaboration between The Joint Commission and AAOS, as of July 1, 2019, a new requirement will take effect for the advanced THKR certification. Hospitals and ASCs will be required to participate in the American Joint Replacement Registry (AJRR). Being part of this registry will help organizations further standardize care and quality improvement in hip and knee replacements. Within its database, AJRR houses data on more than 1.4 million documented procedures.

From a bigger picture perspective, when institutions participate in national registries, it allows peer-group national benchmarking of outcomes and critical patient care processes, which leads to improved quality of care. Registry participation also can help satisfy insurer or payor reporting requirements.

For more information about THKR certification, visit The Joint Commission’s website. To learn about the new advanced certification registry requirement for hospitals and ASCs, view The Joint Commission’s Prepublication Requirements.


The thoughts and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of Dr. Pellegrini and do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Commission or the American College of Surgeons.

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