Accreditation

SAFER in practice; Thoughts on Joint Commission's new scoring matrix

Briefings on Accreditation and Quality, June 1, 2017

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There's been much ado about The Joint Commission's new scoring system, the Survey Analysis for Evaluating Risk (SAFER) matrix. The matrix is a 3 x 3 grid with the Y-axis ranking the likelihood of a problem occurring and the X-axis measuring how widespread the issue is. The matrix replaced the old "Category A/C" method this January, and all accredited organizations can expect to see the grid during their next survey.

Unless you happened to be one of the facilities surveyed in the last four months, it means that you still haven't seen SAFER in practice. So what are people saying about the new system? Is it better or worse than the one that came before?

Victoria Fennel, PhD, RN-BC, CPHQ, director of accreditation and clinical compliance at Compass Clinical Consulting, says Compass has heard from clients who've experienced the matrix and most of the feedback has been very positive.

"Some people have said, 'This was the best survey ever,'" she says. "Others have said that this has been a very smooth process. [Overall] the feedback has been that the SAFER Matrix has been well-received by organizations"

Some facilities have said they're seeing a change of perspective on the survey process, even amongst hospital leadership. The visual aspect of the matrix helps people think more about the risk to patient safety rather than focusing on the scoring, she adds. And the tool appears to be changing views of the survey process as being punitive.

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