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ED Quality News: 2004 National Patient Safety Goals   


The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) today released its 2004 National Patient Safety Goals (NPSGs). Beginning January 1, 2004, the nearly 17,000 JCAHO-accredited health care organizations will be evaluated for compliance with all relevant Goals and Requirements.

Key Points include:

  • All 2003 Patient Safety Goals still apply

  • The 2003 Requirement to "read back" verbal and telephone orders in order to confirm their accuracy has been expanded for 2004 to include the read-back of critical test results that are communicated verbally.

  • The only new Goal for 2004 is:

    Goal 7 — Reduce the risk of health care-acquired infections.

    • Comply with current CDC hand-hygiene guidelines.

    • Manage as sentinel events all identified cases of unanticipated death or major permanent loss of function associated with a health care-acquired infection.


  • The expert panel that made these recommendations—the Sentinel Event Alert Advisory Group—made its recommendations were based in part on data drawn from JCAHO's Sentinel Event Database and from other established sources.

Link to the JCAHO article

Link to the 2004 Patient Safety Standards



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