Academic medical centers must meet new criteria

Not every hospital with students or conducting research is considered an academic medical center, thanks to new standards released this month from the Joint Commission International (JCI).

JCI-accredited academic medical centers will see new criteria for medical education and clinical research incorporated into the evaluation process, starting Jan. 1, 2013.

"These standards were also developed to present a framework for including medical education and human subject research into the quality and patient safety activities of academic medical center hospitals," Paul vanOstenberg, JCI's vice president of International Accreditation, Standards and Measurement, said today in a statement. "Unless deliberately included in the quality framework, education and research activities often are the unnoticed partners in patient care quality monitoring and improvement."

To meet the eligibility criteria, international hospitals must be organizationally or administratively integrated with a medical school, serve as the principal site for the education of both medical students and medical specialty residents from the integrated medical school, and conduct academic and/or commercial human subject research involving patients of the hospital.

Meanwhile, academic medical centers must make sure to carefully explore mergers, acquisitions and affiliations to survive in the consolidating healthcare environment, advised Healthcare Strategies & Solutions, noted Becker's Hospital Review.

To achieve clinical growth and fulfill their academic mission, academic medical centers need to take a proactive approach to finding the most suitable partner. A March report from consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) recommended academic medical centers team up with high-quality, low-cost providers like community hospitals.

For more:
- here's the JCI announcement
- check out the new standards
- read the Becker's article