JCAHO revealed yesterday that there
is a flaw in the software hospitals use to help them qualify for JCAHO
accreditation. The software, used by more than 1,000 hospitals, costs
hospitals several thousand dollars annually. The New York Times reports:

Robert Curran, director of clinical excellence at the O'Connor
Hospital in San Jose, Calif., said many hospitals were concerned that
they might have lost quality- control data already entered into their
systems.

The software, which costs members several thousand
dollars a year for hospital groups, and $495 to $1,095 for small
hospitals, is used to help create files showing, for example, that a
hospital has fully informed patients of their rights.

The
problem was a missing identification marker that alerts a hospital to
the 250 standards among the 1,300 that the commission and its auditors
regard as essential. Without the marker, a hospital might overlook
essential categories in which it must verify its compliance.

It's reported
that JCAHO posted this software flaw on their website as soon as they
learned about it. Prompt notification is good, however I could not find
any mention of this on either the JCAHO or Joint Commission Resources web sites. JCAHO is patching the software, hoping to have an update out today.

UPDATE: A software patch is now available from JCAHO here.