Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Joint Commission Surveyor

Who is Out to Protect Us; The Surveyor

As I got out of the car at the hotel in Chicago, the man asked if I was “with the Joint Commission”.  “Why”, I asked, “Do I look like I am?”  He said most of the hotel was filled with people from The Joint Commission.  And so I would start my first Joint Commission conference for surveyors.  As a commissioner, I am invited to conferences and meetings to learn what is happening within the organization, participate in events and show my support.

The first night was the awards dinner where surveyors working 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25 years were going to be honored.   A booklet, with the honorees names and accomplishments were at each table setting. .  “These are my people” I told Dr. Chassin, the President and CEO of The Joint Commission, the people who know what happens at the bedside!  Some of the stories between the pages were of the honorees best memories and most interesting survey.  One surveyor told the story of meeting a hospice patient who was concerned that she could not afford a bridal gown for her daughter’s wedding.  The surveyor told the nurse who found a local bridal shop that donated a gown. 
I soon realized that the honor isn’t just that they worked the years they worked, but what they actually accomplished during these years.  At each survey while doing surveys (or inspections) at facilities many surveyors also educate the staff on safer and more productive ways of doing things.

In most cases, best practices are not shared between one facility and another.  One hospital that has a low infection rate is competing for the business in the community with another hospital that may not have as good of an infection rate.  While healthcare organizations are busy within their own facility, surveyors can be sharing what they have learned with other healthcare organizations.  Educating the medical staff on best practices is one way to help keep patients safe.  Learning that these facilities often take what they learn from surveyors and put it into practice is another reason to use a Joint Commission accredited facility.