Healthcare at a Crossroads

As a non-profit organization, JCAHO or known as the Join Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals, its main responsibility is to ensure that the medical facilities from the physical building of hospitals to the physicians themselves.

JCAHO is defined as “the prime accrediting body for health care institutions that are Medicare and Medicaid funded” (Zerwekh and Claborn, 2006). Its reputation as an organization reached the status which requires almost all hospitals to be accredited by JCAHO to be able to operate continuously.

It is being considered as the main source of establishing the standards of American healthcare as well as in other parts of the world. JCAHO is an institution where the healthcare is being defined according to its criteria and accreditation.

With the growing issue on implementing reforms on American healthcare, JCAHO consistently resreach ways in addressing the issues surrounding health care. Such issue involves the establishment of a data collecting system before any reforms can be made on U.S. Health care. JCAHO stressed that this is necessary because when there is an established system or strategy on data gathering, the areas of improvements will be easily determined.

The report on the Development a National Performance Measurement Data Strategy states that there should be an existing body or department to measure the performance level of medical facilities to develop a higher quality and accessible American health care. A framework should be built to be able to have systematic and clear process of what and how data should be gathered.

Subsequently when there’s an established framework already, JCAHO proposes to build a ‘data highway’ so that all information are filtered and there’s only one organized database where electronic records will retrieved for convenience and protecting the privacy of the patient. The JCAHO pertains to the establishment of  “the ability to share and merge data that has become crucial to developing consistent and true assessments of care” (Reuters, 2008).

The proposal of a national measurement data strategy made by JCAHO can be a huge step forward in finally making reforms in the American health care.

A systematized data gathering is important to be able to know who are not receving health care, how many percentage of the American citizens does not have access to insurance, and other essential statistics that will help shape specific reforms in addressing the issue of healtcare. JCAHO enumerated some aspects in which data gathering will be extremely helpful. First is measuring the performance level of physicians through a separate infrastructure called the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI).

Another aspect of gathering data is supervised by the Society for Thoracic Surgeons which keeps disease-specifice records and this fall under the category of healthcare practices and procedures (The Joint Commission, 2008, p. 18). Then data gathering for patients, more specifically, the establishment of inpatient census which determines the “number of patient present in the healthcare facility at a particular point in time” (Horton, 2007, p. 32).

Those are just three examples of varying fields of data gathering that should be maintained and done to monitor the over-all condition of American healthcare.

There are so many aspects from the number of hospitals to the detail of drug prescriptions that needs to be organized through a data gathering system. The challenge lies in merging all of these small branches of data gathered in healthcare to be able to have the ideal organized and unified medical record applicable for the whole America.

Another challenge is to put up the categories of the fields, more of like sub-departments under a single infrastructure which will serve as the data highway for propagating the gathered information. Unitd States is one most powerful country, populous and diverse in demographics and even before experts could establish the categories under healthcare, the citizens of America should be  carefully determined since healthcare is solely for the welfare of the populace.

There are so many proposals made to be able to push for healthcare reform such as what JCAHO did. However, it seems like the issue of healthcare remains to be a confusion and vague concept within the majority of the American people. What JCAHO prepared is a detailed and perhaps a feasible step to move forward to the healthcare reform. The innovation of America to solve this is not to be underestimated maybe what is lacking here is a strong political will.


Claborn, J.C. and Zerwekh, J.G. (2006). Nursing Today. USA: Elsevier Health Sciences.

Horton, L.A. (2007). Calculating and Reporting Healthcare Statistics. USA: American Health Information Management Association.

Powers, K. (2008, March 6). The Joint Commission Urges Development of a National Performance Measurement Data Strategy. Reuters. Retrieved April 8, 2009, from


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