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  • Corinne Graber

4 Tips to Help You Prepare for a Joint Commission Survey

Updated: Oct 6, 2022

The Joint Commission (JC) Survey can be an intimidating process. You aim to anticipate the surveyor's requests, preferences, and requirements. If only everyone possessed the ability to see into the future! Since superpowers are off the table, the next best thing is to plan, plan, plan! Let's review four tips to ensure a comprehensive plan for a successful Joint Commission Survey.

Visit the Joint Commission website.

Gather your information right from the source. The JC website has several supportive resources including current standards, checklists, and how-to guides. Verifying if any updates have been made to JC processes, such as survey expectations or required documents, will also aid in keeping you one step ahead in planning. Utilize the tools and resources that meet your needs, dependent upon your team's experience, and build upon them.

Schedule Meetings.

Conduct meetings to review the JC standards to promote your team’s understanding of what the JC will be searching for during the onsite survey of the facility. Include all the key players who can demonstrate or speak to processes, procedures, workflows, and facility systems that are set in place. For example: A facilities member who can speak to mechanical systems, a Regulatory member, and a clinical staff member at a minimum. Having the right people, from the hospital, on the team makes all the difference. Review your documentation and ensure all are up to date and complete. Work with all departments/service lines to ensure they are prepared and know what to expect the day of the survey.

Prepare Your Documents.

Building an organized filing system is essential to survey success. Create a filing system, whether it is physical or virtual, that is simple, user friendly, and, you guessed it, organized! If the surveyor requests a document, it should be readily accessible. You would not want something as trivial as a misplaced document delaying your JC approval.

Conduct a Mock Survey.

This is where all your planning and preparation from above will be put into action. You and your team should conduct a mock survey to inspect the facility and locate any areas of concern regarding JC standards. This is where your acting skills from high school come in, You, an experienced staff member, or a consultant will "act" as a JC surveyor and walk the facility with the team to build their comfort level in preparation for the survey. Practice makes perfect! As a result of the mock, a "punch list" of items needing attention is created in an organized and detailed manner for your team to address prior to the survey.

In summation, over-planning for a JC survey is far better than under-planning. Consider the above four tips as steppingstones that can lead you to a successful survey. By retrieving the latest information from the JC website, working closely with your team, ensuring the required documents are up to date, complete, and accessible, and conducting a mock survey, your team should have a smooth and successful outcome regarding your Joint Commission Survey.

If your team has minimal experience with JC surveys, HBS can assist you in your planning and preparations as well as provide guidelines for documentation management, mock survey enactments, and onsite support the day(s) of the survey.

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