The Impact of The Joint Commission's Health Care Equity Certification Program

Learn more about the implications of The Joint Commission's Health Care Equity Certification Program

July 12, 2023
health equity

The landscape of healthcare is undergoing significant transformation. The Joint Commission (TJC), a leading accrediting entity, recently announced the launch of its voluntary Health Care Equity Certification Program, effective July 1st. This certification represents a remarkable shift towards enhancing the equity of care provided in hospitals and critical access hospitals.  

The primary goal of this initiative is to acknowledge and promote hospitals and other medical centers that demonstrate exemplary efforts to provide equitable care, treatment and services. It builds upon TJC’s enduring accreditation requirements advocating for healthcare equity and their new requirements intended to mitigate healthcare disparities. However, what implications does this program hold for our health systems?

A Framework for Excellence  

The Joint Commission's certification emphasizes five key domains for organizations to focus on: Leadership, Collaboration, Data Collection, Provision of Care and Performance Improvement. These domains provide a comprehensive framework that gives health systems a clear path toward improving health equity. Read a recent blog for more information into each of these domains.

Implications for Health Systems  

The implications of this certification for health systems are wide-ranging:  

  1. Health systems will be pushed to prioritize health equity, a critical facet of patient safety and quality of care. Hospitals will be encouraged to implement systemic changes, ensuring the promotion of diversity, equity and inclusion. This focus will help address the persisting fractures in our healthcare system and work towards improving the provision of safe, high-quality care for all.
  1. The certification sets forth new standards for healthcare quality and safety. By elevating healthcare disparities to a National Patient Safety Goal (NPSG 16), it firmly establishes the reduction of such disparities as a major objective for health systems.  
  1. Data collection and performance improvement will be instrumental aspects for organizations striving for this certification. Health systems will be responsible to gather, analyze and utilize data in a more nuanced way to inform their efforts in reducing disparities, improving care and advancing clinical outcomes.
  1. This program will incentivize collaboration, both within organizations and with external entities, including patients, families, caregivers and external organizations. By fostering a culture of collaboration, it will enhance patient care and overall clinical outcomes.

In conclusion, TJC's Health Care Equity Certification Program represents an ambitious stride towards a more equitable and inclusive health care system. It serves as a testament to the belief that healthcare equity is a crucial aspect of patient safety and quality of care.

While the program is voluntary, it is hoped that it will stimulate a wave of change in the health sector, prompting health systems to prioritize health care equity and inclusivity. By doing so, we can begin to close the gap in health disparities and build a health care system where everyone, regardless of their background, has access to safe, high-quality care.

Check out our new white papers on how pharmacy and revenue cycle teams can help with health equity measures.