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Medical News & Perspectives
April 25, 2007

JCAHO Tweaks Emergency Departments’ Pneumonia Treatment Standards

JAMA. 2007;297(16):1758-1759. doi:10.1001/jama.297.16.1758

A performance measure for emergency departments' treatment of pneumonia is being modified in hopes of better reflecting the true quality of care administered. But will it do so?

At issue is a measure established by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) involving the timing of administration of antibiotics to patients diagnosed with community-acquired pneumonia. When originally issued in 2004, meeting the standard (known as PN-5b) required giving patients who present to an emergency department and are discharged with a diagnosis of pneumonia an antibiotic within 4 hours of presentation. The standard was developed after publication of 2 large retrospective studies showing an association between antibiotic timing and outcomes in patients with pneumonia.