The Joint Commission International

JCI - patient safety

Angie, an aspiring nurse, is spending her free time browsing the internet about things related to nursing. Becoming a nurse has always been her dream, she would stay up late imagining herself wearing that colorful scrub suit and helping the sick, and she is determined to do whatever it takes to achieve it.  Now that she’s finally enrolled in nursing school, her goal is to learn everything there is to learn about nursing and everything related to it.

                As she scrolls down the page, she suddenly encounters an article stating the importance of JCI accreditation amongst hospitals. JCI? What exactly does JCI stand for and why is it important? Why do hospitals need to be accredited by this JCI? With all the questions swarming in her head, she decides to give in to her curiosity, open the link and familiarize herself about this so-called JCI.

What is JCI?

                JCI, which stands for Joint Commission International, is known to be one of the world’s leading nonprofit patient safety organizations. It identifies, measures, and shares best practices in quality and patient safety with the world.

It also helps health care organizations across all settings improve performance and outcomes through providing leadership and innovative solutions. The organization has a team of experts who work with hospitals and other health care organizations, health systems, government ministries, public health agencies, academic institutions, and businesses to achieve peak performance in patient care in 90 countries.

Though needs may vary in different settings and that there might be unique patient care challenges across cultures, the mission of JCI remains the same, which is to improve the safety and quality of care in the international community through the provision of education, publications, consultation, and evaluation services.

                Specifically, JCI helps organizations to help themselves through:

  • Earning JCI accreditation and certification, recognized as the global Gold Seal of Approval;
  • Providing leading education; and
  • Delivering evidence-based advisory services.

The History of JCI

Since being founded in 1994 as a division of Joint Commission Resources, Inc. (JCR), a private, not-for-profit affiliate of The Joint Commission, JCI has touched more than 90 countries. At present, the organization helps patients in five continents and fields a well-trained team of international accreditation surveyors and consultants. JCI now enjoys a 20 percent annual growth in the number of accredited organizations, which is just one metric of how it helps health care leaders to improve quality, safety, and efficiency as a shared goal.

Being the oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care in the United States, this organization evaluates more than 20,000 organizations and encourages them to excel in providing safe and effective care.

JCI accreditation and certification

JCI aims for a world where every patient receives the highest quality of care possible. One way to achieve this is through their accreditation program. In line with such, JCI regularly publishes a demanding set of standards that represent the most current thinking in patient safety and quality improvement. Those organizations that are capable of meeting the said standards are bound to undergo a comprehensive and rigorous on-site survey conducted by JCI in order to achieve accreditation.

JCI’s accreditation program was developed by international experts and sets uniform, achievable expectations for structures, processes, and outcomes for health care organizations. The requirements include international patient safety goals that highlight problematic areas in health care and describe evidence and expert-based consensus solutions. The survey process accommodates specific legal, religious and cultural factors within a country. JCI accreditation is available for hospitals and academic medical centers, ambulatory care facilities, clinical laboratories, home care agencies, long term care organizations, medical transport organizations, and primary care services.

Once accredited, organizations must continue to meet the organization’s standards and are regularly assessed through periodic re-survey.

On the other hand, JCI’s Clinical Care Program Certification (CCPC), demonstrates excellence in fostering better outcomes through the integration and coordination of care for treatment of a specific disease (i.e., diabetes mellitus type 2), condition (i.e., acute myocardial infarction), or clinical care service (i.e., joint replacement). CCPC is based on an assessment of standards and criteria, the effective use of clinical guidelines, and an organized approach to performance measurement and improvement.

Benefits of accreditation and certification

  • Provides education on leading practices to improve clinical and business processes
  • Improves risk management and results in risk reduction
  • Strengthens community confidence in the quality and safety of care
  • On-site evaluations conducted by highly trained clinicians and patient safety experts
  • Standards developed by health care experts from around the world
  • Advisory councils made up of health care leaders from Europe, the Middle East, and Asia-Pacific provide guidance on key patient safety and quality issues

Why choose a JCI- accredited healthcare organization

When you get admitted in a hospital, you are putting your health and life in the hands of its healthcare personnel.  When it’s health and life being involved that we’re talking about, it’s always wise to choose only the best, right?

When you choose a health care organization that is JCI accredited, you are assured that you are receiving care from a leading practice organization. You know that it knows how to put quality and patient safety first as these accredited facilities have all demonstrated:

  • A deep commitment to high-quality care
  • A culture of safety for patients, visitors, and staff
  • A willingness to undergo rigorous preparation and a survey
  • Care delivery based on leading, evidence-based practices
  • Leadership in continuous compliance with exacting standards

A health care organization that has met JCI’s exacting standards can proudly display the Gold Seal of Approval as a sign of this distinctive accomplishment. Patients may see the Gold Seal on the premises of JCI-accredited organizations or in their communications. Aside from enhancing the status of these health care organizations among patients, it also receives the universal respect of other providers, businesses, government ministries, and insurance companies.

The gold seal of approval is a visible sign of the organization’s commitment to deliver quality care in a safe environment.

JCI Accreditation

Joint Commission International accredits eight types of health care programs: hospitals, academic medical center hospitals, ambulatory care facilities, clinical laboratories, home care facilities, long term care facilities, medical transport organizations, and primary care centers. Here are more details about some of these accreditation categories.


Academic Medical Center 
JCI defines an academic medical center hospital as any of the following:

  • A medical facility that is integrated with a medical school
  • The principal site for the education of medical students and residents from the medical school
  • A site that conducts academic and/or commercial clinical research trials


Ambulatory Care Facility
JCI defines an ambulatory care facility as any of the following:

  • Free-standing medical, dental, and surgical facilities
  • Dialysis facilities
  • Diagnostic radiology centers
  • Outpatient chronic care management facilities
  • Acute care centers


Home Care Facility
JCI standards address best practices for care within a patient’s home, including end-of-life care. Measurable elements of performance cover:

  • All patient-centered care and interactions
  • Safety of the environment
  • Staff qualifications and education


Long Term Care Facility
JCI long term care standards address quality improvement issues for non-acute settings such as:

  • Assisted living facilities
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Chronic care facilities


Medical Transport Organization
JCI standards address all aspects of emergency and nonemergency transport of patients and apply to public and community-based medical transport organizations associated with hospitals. JCI standards evaluate multiple transport modes including:

  • Emergency treatment and transport services
  • Nonemergency transport services
  • Public and private ambulance services
  • Air and water medical transport
  • Fire brigade emergency services


Primary Care Center
JCI primary care standards focus on:

  • Community integration
  • Health promotion
  • Disease prevention
  • First-contact medical services
  • ?Linkages to other parts of the health care system


JCI Clinical Care Program Certification

Currently, JCI offers the following certifications:

  • Acute Myocardial Infarction (heart-related diseases)
  • Asthma
  • Cancer (all types)
  • Childhood Asthma
  • Chronic Heart Failure
  • Chronic Kidney Disease
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Diabetes Mellitus (types 1 and 2)
  • End-stage Renal Disease
  • Heart Failure
  • HIV/AIDS Management
  • Joint Replacement (all types)
  • Osteoarthritis of the Knee
  • Outpatient Diabetes
  • Pain Management
  • Palliative Care (all types)
  • Primary Stroke
  • Transplantation (all types)
  • Traumatic Brain Injury

Standards Advisory Panel

To maintain best practices, JCI turns to its Standards Advisory Panel, comprised of experienced physicians, nurses, administrators, and public-policy experts. The panel guides the development and revision process of the JCI accreditation standards. Panel members are from five major world regions: Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific Rim, the Middle East, Europe, and the United States. The panel’s recommendations are refined based on an international field review of the standards and input from experts and others with unique content knowledge. Specifically, services include:

  • Developing national and regional quality evaluation systems
  • Preparing for accreditation and certification
  • Developing and improving operations, such as management, clinical planning, and facility planning
  • Measuring performance and developing ongoing programs of quality improvement
  • Quality and safety improvement, including engineering safety and health design, infection control and prevention, medication management, and patient safety

Regional Advisory Councils

JCI has three regional advisory councils: Asia-Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East and North Africa. These councils work with ministries of health, international health care organizations, public health agencies, governmental agencies, and others to evaluate and improve the quality and safety of patient care throughout each region.

Council members include key stakeholders who have a primary responsibility to facilitate JCI’s awareness and understanding of important items such as:

  • Regional health care quality
  • Patient safety
  • Health financing
  • Health policy issues
  • Cultural needs, values, and requirements

The councils meet annually to discuss and provide feedback on key initiatives.


Liane Clores, RN MAN

Currently an Intensive Care Unit nurse, pursuing a degree in Master of Arts in Nursing Major in Nursing Service Administration. Has been a contributor of Student Nurses Quarterly, Vox Populi, The Hillside Echo and the Voice of Nightingale publications. Other experience include: Medical-Surgical, Pediatric, Obstetric, Emergency and Recovery Room Nursing.

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