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  • Writer's pictureMuhammad Sair Khan

Joint Commission Standards Require Behavioral Health Facilities to Track Outcomes




As part of accreditation by the Joint Commission, behavioral health facilities have always had to track patient outcomes. Facilities could track outcomes in a variety of ways. However, a lack of standardized, quantitative measurements made it difficult to determine if a patient population was truly receiving quality care.


To ensure quality care at behavioral health facilities across the country, The Joint Commission is now requiring “measurement-based care” (also called value-based care) as part of their standards. Measurement-based care uses a standardized tool or instrument to chart patient outcomes.


Numerous studies have demonstrated the benefits of measurement-based care in the behavioral health setting.

The Benefits of Measurement-Based Care for Facilities


Measurement-based care is objective. With specific criteria for measuring outcomes, facilities can more easily assess their success, set goals for the future, and create action plans to improve their care.


As part of the new standards, your facility is required to aggregate data to set quality improvement goals. With a standardized tool in place, your quality improvement team can pinpoint the exact areas where your facility needs to improve and focus their efforts. Not only will you be able to make greater improvements, you’ll be able to track those improvements and show the Joint Commission, your board of directors, and your community your successes.


When your facility is achieving success, standardized tools also helps you better demonstrate the success to potential patients and their family members. This improved, more reliable marketing can help increase your revenue and communicate to patients that they can trust in your care.

The Benefits of Measurement-Based Care for Patients


The new standards also dictate that facilities must use standardized tools to track individual patient progress and inform care. While this can help with longer term goals, it should also help patients in real-time as they are receiving treatment.


To track individual care, each patient should have regular assessments with whatever standardized tool you use. For instance, patients and their providers may fill out a survey about a patient’s symptoms, their frequency, and their intensity. These surveys would help both the patient and provider see if any progress is being made and access if they need to make changes to the treatment plan.

Why Your Facility Should Consider Joint Commission Accreditation


More than 2,000 behavioral health facilities in the United States are accredited by the Joint Commission. This accreditation demonstrates to referring physicians, patients, and your community that you have met stringent patient care requirements.


Accreditation also gives you an opportunity to ensure your facility is following best practices and providing a high level of care. The accreditation process requires an in-depth look at your facility that can help you find new ways to improve while recognizing areas of excellence.


Accreditation can also help you lower liability insurance costs while increasing your reimbursement from health insurance companies. Payors are more likely to give high reimbursement rates to facilities that demonstrate great patient outcomes and long-term success.


While implementing a standardized tool and maintaining accreditation can take some time and patience, it is well worth the effort for your staff, your patients, and even your bottom line.


Learn more about how Datapro can help your organization stay up to date with The Joint Commission outcome-tracking requirements.

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