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New JCAHO Standards Highlight Importance of Practice Guidelines

Katherine M. Bennett

New Joint Commission standards that went into effect in January now require ambulatory care organizations and networks to use clinical practice guidelines and hospitals to consider the use of guidelines.

Revisions to the comprehensive accreditation manuals for hospitals (numbered LD.1.10 through LD.1.10.3), ambulatory care (LD.1.10 through LD.1.10.3), and health care networks (LD.2.6 through LD.2.6.3) bolster the case for using evidence-based, authoritative guidelines when designing and improving health care services.

"These new standards reinforce the Society's belief that practice and therapeutic guidelines are critical to helping patients achieve optimal health," said Mae M. Kwong, Pharm.D., ASHP ambulatory care professional practice associate. Kwong added that ASHP's Commission on Therapeutics (COT) recently celebrated a decade's worth of work in this area.

Since 1989, COT has developed and published 17 evidence-based documents; it is also responsible for 50 percent of the new content in ASHP's 1999-2000 edition of Best Practices for Health-System Pharmacy.

Click here to peruse the Society's guidelines.