Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
Staying in Ready Mode and a Joint Commission Visit

Staying in Ready Mode and a Joint Commission Visit

staying-in-ready-mode-and-a-joint-commission-visit- image0Last Monday, two surveyors from The Joint Commission, Lynnette Mundey, M.D., and Terri Sharp, R.N., APN, arrived at TTP for an unannounced survey. While we had been expecting it, we admit the visit came a bit sooner than anticipated. However, that was not a problem. Because for the past few years, we have tried to stay in a ready mode when it comes to accreditation surveys. And, for the most part, I think we are doing fairly well.

We received good marks (including some nice kudos) along with a few opportunities for improvement, which are never totally unexpected. As long as humans work in health care organizations, I think opportunities for improvement will be issued. In fact, if we are not improving, we are sliding backwards and none of us want that situation. Our vision, of course, is to be a top-tier medical practice nationally recognized in quality patient care, satisfaction and value. I think we are well on our way … but it is a journey on which we may never fully reach our destination, simply because we can always do better. That is life and reality in a complex and dynamic industry like ours.

For those new to health care, The Joint Commission is an independent, nonprofit group in the United States that administers accreditation programs for hospitals and other health care-related organizations. They provide performance standards that address crucial elements of operation, like patient care, medication safety, infection control and consumer rights. I am a firm supporter of The Joint Commission for the reason that it is an industry-sponsored entity. It represents our industry’s best efforts to police ourselves. I think that is what professionals do — they police themselves using high standards. Or, put another way, it is a rigorous form of peer review.

Furthermore, there is no other organization that has as its corporate members the American College of Physicians, the American College of Surgeons, the American Dental Association, the American Hospital Association and the American Medical Association. Their board also includes a consumer advocate, a labor representative, administrators, employers, educators, ethicists, health plan leaders and quality control experts as well as doctors and nurses.

I would be remiss if I did not thank Ahnna Parker, R.N., C, MSN, CIC, senior director of School of Medicine Nursing Services.  She does a wonderful job of keeping us ready for surveys and facilitating them when they occur. Drs. Lampe and Dunn were also very helpful and rearranged their schedules to make themselves available and participate in the survey. Dennis Lamb played a key role in the survey, as did Dana Garay, R.N., J.D. In fact, a great big shout out to all who prepared and prepare each day.  Some of you were ready and not visited and I understand the mixed feelings that can result — on one hand, relief; but, on the other hand, a strong desire to show the good things happening in your area.  You are appreciated whether your area was visited or not.  And remember, it is really not about the survey, per se — it is the day-to-day pursuit of doing the best work we possibly can in the safest environment possible for our patients —  that is the goal.  And, that, in itself, is our reward.

Dr. Mundey ended the closing conference by saying,“Texas Tech Physicians is well on its way to reaching its vision and being a high-reliability organization.” That was music to my ears and made it all worthwhile.