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December 16, 1988

Now Is the Time to Emphasize the Autopsy in Quality Assurance

JAMA. 1988;260(23):3488. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03410230106040

The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations has adopted a revised standard that includes changes in the autopsy policy, which will become effective for survey on Jan 1,1989. The new standard reads as follows: MS. The medical staff, with other appropriate hospital staff, develops and uses criteria that identify deaths in which an autopsy should be performed.

MS. Findings from autopsies are used as a source of clinical information in quality assurance activities.

MR. When an autopsy is performed, provisional anatomic diagnoses are recorded in the medical record within three days, and the complete protocol is made part of the record within sixty days, unless exceptions for special studies are established by the medical staff.

Dennis O'Leary, MD, Joint Commission president, has stated: "The Joint Commission has always emphasized the importance of the autopsy as a valuable aid in evaluation of the quality of care and in continuing professional