2018 Ambulatory Health Care National Patient Safety Goals

The National Patient Safety Goals (NPSG) were established by The Joint Commission (TJC) and are updated each year. They were meant to assist accredited organizations address specific areas of concern in regard to patient safety. The Patient Safety Advisory Group, is made up of nurses, physicians, pharmacists, risk managers, clinical engineers and other professionals, and advises TJC on the development and updating of NPSGs (TJC, 2017, December). They work together to identify emerging patient safety issues and then TJC determines the highest priority issues and how best to address them, while also determining if a goal is pertinent to a specific accreditation program (i.e., ambulatory health care). There are specific goals for each accreditation program that TJC offers.

The goals that are applicable to ambulatory surgery centers are:

  • Goal 1 – Improve the accuracy of patient identification
  • Goal 3 – Improve the safety of using medications
  • Goal 7 – Reduce the risk of health care-associated infections
  • Universal Protocol – Preventing wrong site, wrong procedure and wrong person surgery

(TJC, 2017, November)

Each goal has ways to implement it in practice, as well as, more specific elements of performance. For example, goal 1 is about identifying patients correctly. Each person in the facility needs to use at least two ways to identify patients (i.e., patient’s name and date of birth). And implementation of the Universal Protocol is about preventing mistakes in surgery. Facilities need to ensure that correct surgery is done on the correct patient and at the correct place on the patient’s body. This includes correct marking of the surgical site and an adequate Time Out being done prior to surgery.

The full chapter of the ambulatory health care NPSG

Simplified version of the ambulatory health care NPSG


The Joint Commission. (2017, November 15). Ambulatory Health Care: 2018 National Patient Safety Goals. Retrieved from https://www.jointcommission.org/ahc_2017_npsgs/

The Joint Commission. (2017, December 28). Facts about the National Patient Safety Goals. Retrieved from https://www.jointcommission.org/facts_about_the_national_patient_safety_goals/

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