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Joint Commission updates blood transfusion requirements

In the latest issue of The Joint Commission Online newsletter, The Joint Commission announced that after receiving requests from the field to allow automated identification technology, such as bar coding, it has reconsidered its position regarding a two-person verification process for blood transfusions. After consulting with safety experts, referring to academic literature, and working with healthcare organizations that use this technology, The Joint Commission agrees that the use of automated identification technology can contribute to patient safety, and therefore a one-person verification process accompanied by automated identification technology is acceptable in lieu of a two-person verification process.  

The Joint Commission has updated the element of performance for National Patient Safety Goal 01.03.01 as follows:  

Revised NPSG.01.03.01 EP 1 (addition is bolded): Before initiating a blood or blood component transfusion:

  • Match the blood or blood component to the order
  • Match the patient to the blood or blood component
  • Use a two-person verification process or a one-person verification process accompanied by automated identification technology, such as bar coding

(See also NPSG.01.01.01, EPs 1 and 2)

The Joint Commission also announced that it will not be adding any new National Patient Safety Goals for 2011. Medical Staff leaders should focus on communicating the current National Patient Safety Goals to the medical staff and ensure that appropriate medical staff policies and procedures or rules and regulations are updated to reflect the requirements.


Joint Commission issues quality and safety report

Good news from The Joint Commission. According to its Annual Report on Quality and Safety, hospitals are providing safer, higher quality care than they did in 2002. In addition, hospitals have significantly improved the quality of care provided to heart attack, pneumonia, surgical care, and children’s asthma patients. However, improvement is still needed in two areas that were introduced in 2005; hospitals must do better providing fibrinolytic therapy within 30 minutes of arrival to heart attack patients and providing antibiotics to ICU pneumonia patients within 24 hours of arrival. 

Check out the full report.