Joint commission and national patient safety goals

Do you know what the National Patient Safety Goals are and how they might affect patient care?

The Joint Commission (JC), originally called the called “Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations” is a health care industry-credentialing agency. In turn, the accreditation and certification of a health care organization is a symbol of a hospital’s quality of care, and in the majority of states – used as a condition of licensure for Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement.

The Joint Commission also advocates for Patient Safety Issues through the National Patient Safety Goals (NPSG). Implemented in 2003, the National Patient Safety Goals were designed to assist organizations to identify and address specific patient safety concerns.  The Joint Commission’s responsibility is to determine what the highest priority items in patient safety are and through the Safety Goals address those issues.

The NPSG are utilized by hospitals to ensure that they provide safe patient care and to identify areas of improvement. The hospitals then change care, through policies and procedures, to reduce the total numbers of safety incidents. In addition, the hospital’s care is monitored, in order to qualify for the Joint Commission’s accreditation and to maintain their accreditation status (considered the gold seal of approval).

An example of the importance of the National Patient Safety Goals is best represented by a past goal of “to reduce hospital acquired infections or (HAI)”; any infection that was not present at time of admission, but acquired during the hospital stay. Some HAI cannot be billed for reimbursement by the hospital based on changes bythe Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services in 2006.


The 2015 Hospital National Patient Safety Goals include the following:

  •       Patient Identification: Improve the accuracy of patient identification.

o   NPSG.01.01.01

o   NPSG.01.03.01

  •       Improve communication: Improve the effectiveness of communication among caregivers.

o   NPSG.02.03.01

  •       Medicines safety: Improve the safety of using medications.

o   NPSG.03.04.01

o   NPSG.03.05.01

o   NPSG.03.06.01

  •       Clinical alarm safety: Improve the safety of clinical alarm systems.

o   NPSG.06.01.01

  •       Health care-associated infections: Reduce the risk of health care-associated infections.

o   NPSG.07.01.01

o   NPSG.07.03.01

o   NPSG.07.04.01

o   NPSG.07.05.01

o   NPSG.07.06.01

  •       Reduce falls: Reduce the risk of patient harm resulting from falls.

o   NPSG.09.02.01

  •       Pressure Ulcers: Prevent health care-associate pressure ulcers (decubitus ulcers).

o   NPSG.14.01.01

  •       Risk Assessment: The organization identifies safety risks inherent in its patient populations.

o   NPSG.15.10.01

  •       Universal protocol for preventing wrong site, wrong procedure, wrong person surgery

o   UP.01.01.01

o   UP.01.02.01

  • UP.01.03.01


Our nurses understand health care and the hospital setting. We also understand how the national patient safety goals can and should affect patient care, as in fall prevention and necessary protocols to avoid patient falls. Contact us to see how we can best assist your practice.