Association between patient outcomes and accreditation in US hospitals: observational study.
Accreditation is a widely accepted strategy for ensuring hospital quality and safety. Hospitals accredited by The Joint Commission have been found to have improved performance on care quality metrics. However, few researchers have investigated whether or how accreditation affects patient outcomes. Investigators used Medicare data to assess the relationship between Joint Commission accreditation, other independent accreditation, or state survey review only (no independent accreditation) on patient outcomes and experience. Surgical mortality and readmissions did not differ between hospitals with and without accreditation. For medical conditions, accredited hospitals had a lower readmission rate but no statistically significant difference in mortality rate. Patient experience was modestly better at hospitals without accreditation. These findings may reflect how state survey and independent accreditation have converged in terms of methods and efficacy. A PSNet interview with The Joint Commission's CEO discussed the organization's efforts to use accreditation as one of many tools to promote high reliability in health care.