The National Patient Safety Goals are health care objectives issued by the Joint Commission in the United States. These goals are intended to be a framework for accredited health care institutions on how to address specific issues and problems related to the quality of patient care. The Joint Commission founded the National Patient Safety program is 2002 and they were implemented starting in 2003.
The National Patient Safety Goals are decided on each year, in part, by a panel of health care experts called the Patient Safety Advisory Group. This panel is composed of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, clinical engineers and other health care professionals. Areas that are addressed by this panel include standards, performance measures, educational materials and Sentinel Event Alerts. The Joint Commission uses suggestions from the Advisory Group and determines the highest priority issues that the time and actions that will address them.
A Sentinel Event Alert is when there is an unexpected occurrence in a health care setting results or could result in death or serious harm to patients or providers. The Joint Commission goal is to determine the causes of these events and development a system to prevent them in the future. Examples of sentinel events are wrong site surgeries, falls with injury, transfusion errors and look-alike, sound-alike high alert medications.