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Joint Commission Alert: Effective Leadership Critical to Preventing Medical Errors
Date:8/27/2009

ate, supportive and timely.
  • Create and communicate a policy that defines behaviors that are to be referred for disciplinary action and a timeframe for that action to take place.
  • Add a human element to safety improvement by having patients communicate their experiences and perceptions to leadership.
  • Reward and recognize staff whose efforts contribute to safety.
  • In addition to specific recommendations contained in the Alert, The Joint Commission urges health care organizations to use the Leadership section of its accreditation standards to improve patient safety. The standards require organizational leaders to create a culture of safety and to provide the resources necessary for patient safety. The standards also cover reporting systems for adverse events and near misses and the design of processes to support safety.

    The emphasis on the role of leadership in promoting greater patient safety is part of a series of Alerts issued by The Joint Commission. Much of the information and guidance provided in these Alerts is drawn from the Joint Commission's Sentinel Event Database, one of the nation's most comprehensive voluntary reporting systems for serious adverse events in health care. The database includes detailed information about both adverse events and their underlying causes. Previous Alerts have addressed health care technology, anticoagulants, wrong-site surgery, medication mix-ups, health care-associated infections, and patient suicides, among others topics. The complete list and text of past issues of Sentinel Event Alert can be found at http://www.jointcommission.org/SentinelEvents/SentinelEventAlert/.

    Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve health care for the public
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    SOURCE The Joint Commission
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