Joint Commission updates requirements for Universal Protocol

By Dirk H. Alander, MD, and David B. Carmack, MD

Since the publication of the Universal Protocol 2009 update, the AAOS leadership and the AAOS Patient Safety Committee have continued a dialogue with the Joint Commission (JC). (See “The Universal Protocol—Can’t love it or leave it!AAOS Now, September 2009.) As a result, the Protocol was revised twice during 2009, and a new update will be effective as part of the 2010 patient safety goals.

The basic tenets of the Universal Protocol remain consistent: preoperative verification, site marking, and a time-out prior to incision. But there is now more flexibility in how these tenets are implemented. The following points from the JC’s “final” published Universal Protocol (Fall 2009) can be of immediate use to the fellowship:

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