Evaluations of the impact of hospital accreditation have been previously hampered by the lack of nationally standardized data. One way to assess this impact is to compare accreditation status with other evidence-based measures of quality, such as the process measures now publicly reported by The Joint Commission and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
To examine the association between Joint Commission accreditation status and both absolute measures of, and trends in, hospital performance on publicly reported quality measures for common diseases.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PATIENTS:
Performance data for 2004 and 2008 from U.S. acute care and critical access hospitals were obtained using publicly available CMS Hospital Compare data augmented with Joint Commission performance data.
Changes in hospital performance between 2004 and 2008, and percent of hospitals with 2008 performance exceeding 90% for 16 measures of quality-of-care and 4 summary scores.
Hospitals accredited by The Joint Commission tended to have better baseline performance in 2004 than non-accredited hospitals. Accredited hospitals had larger gains over time, and were significantly more likely to have high performance in 2008 on 13 out of 16 standardized clinical performance measures and all summary scores.
While Joint Commission-accredited hospitals already outperformed non-accredited hospitals on publicly reported quality measures in the early days of public reporting, these differences became significantly more pronounced over 5 years of observation. Future research should examine whether accreditation actually promotes improved performance or is a marker for other hospital characteristics associated with such performance. Journal of Hospital Medicine 2011;6:458–465. © 2011 Society of Hospital Medicine