The Joint Commission Uses AHRQ's Guideline Clearinghouse in Disease Care Certification Program

Comparative Effectiveness
October 2008

AHRQ's National Guideline ClearinghouseTM (NGC) is an integral part of The Joint Commission's Disease-Specific Care Certification (DSC) program. The Joint Commission evaluates and accredits more than 15,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States.

Launched in February 2002, DSC certification is designed to evaluate disease management and chronic care services within hospitals, health plans, disease management service companies, and throughout the care delivery continuum. The NGC has become an integral part of the program. According to Jean Range, executive director of the DSC program, "While we don't prescribe the specific guidelines that organizations use, we know that the adoption of NGC guidelines will result in cost and operational efficiency."

As stated in the DSC standards and review process, "Each disease-specific care program or service is expected to demonstrate its selection, implementation, and integration of clinical practice guidelines relevant to the care of patients and participants in the program. Programs certified within Disease-Specific Care are required to use guidelines listed by the NGC; if other guidelines are used, the program team must provide a rationale for selection and evidence that such guidelines meet recognized criteria."

As of October 2008, over 800 clinical programs have earned The Joint Commission's certificate of distinction. These organizations were found to use performance measurement and improvement activities effectively, comply with consensus-based national standards, and effectively use established clinical practice guidelines (such as NGC guidelines) to manage and optimize care.

According to Range, "Certification provides a roadmap for organizations to achieve excellence in patient care. It focuses on specific aspects of patient care and provides external validation of those services."

Impact Case Study Identifier: 
AHRQ Product(s): National Guidelines Clearinghouse (NGC)
Geographic Location: National
Implementer: The Joint Commission
Date: 10/01/2008
Page last reviewed October 2014