NIH Clinical Center

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Clinical Center Governance & Accreditation: Clinical Center Profile 2002

Clinical Center Governance

The Clinical Center’s unique and valuable contribution to the healthcare arena is its ability to respond quickly and creatively to the continually expanding clinical research needs. Strides in medical technologies, imaging sciences and molecular research require an adaptable and flexible facility for scientific investigation and exploration. The Clinical Center is able to respond to these needs largely because of responsive, articulate cooperative interactions among its governing and advisory bodies.

Board of Governors. This 15-member group advises, consults with and makes recommendations to the NIH and Clinical Center directors on issues relating to the operations of the Clinical Center, including budget, strategic and operational planning. The full board meets three times annually and the executive committee meets two times a year. The NIH director appoints members.

Clinical Center Research Steering Committee. In December 2000, the NIH acting director recommended the establishment of the Clinical Center Research Steering Committee (CCRSC) to replace the Clinical Center Advisory Council. The CCRSC is comprised of Institute and Center directors as well as clinical research leaders and focuses on policy issues for the Clinical Center, including long-term strategic planning for clinical research activities.

Medical Executive Committee. This group, which meets twice a month, advises the Clinical Center director on clinical aspects of operations and develops policies governing standards of medical care in the Clinical Center. The group is made up of clinical directors from each Institute and other senior clinical and administrative representatives.

The Patient Advisory Group. Initially convened in 1998 to facilitate planning for the new hospital, this group comprises former and current patients nominated by Institute directors. They serve as informal advisors to the Clinical Center director on issues of concern to patients.

Clinical Center Accreditation

Photo: Doctor tending to a patient in patient care unit.

Computerized documentation in the form of order entry, patient assessment and progress notes is standard practice on the patient care units.

The Clinical Center follows the highest standards in the conduct of its clinical research and delivery of patient care services. This adherence enables the Center to assure safe, quality patient care and the highest level of clinical research practices. Two organizations guide the overall Center operations through the evaluation and accreditation processes.

Joint Commission. The Clinical Center received an adjusted overall score of 96, out of 100 points, based on Joint Commission’s most recent survey visit in October 2001. That score places only 10 percent of healthcare facilities in the United States above the Clinical Center and reflects the continuing provision of outstanding patient care and services by a high quality staff. The assessment of the Clinical Center comes during a time when Joint Commission’s scrutiny of healthcare organizations has been much stricter than in past years. Joint Commission visits healthcare facilities every three years to survey the organizations and ensure that safe and quality care is provided to the public. The Center’s next accreditation survey site visit will be conducted in the fall of 2003.

Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs (AAHRPP). AHRPP evaluated the clinical research programs at the Clinical Center as part of a pilot test to develop an accreditation process for human subjects research. The evaluation team sat in on 13 NIH Institutional Review Board sessions and interviewed senior officials, clinical directors, investigators, and research staff members from each Institute. The team also met with Clinical Center employees from the Pharmacy Department, Patient Representative Office and Protocol Coordination Service Center. The team was favorably impressed with how the Clinical Center conducts biomedical research. AAHRPP is a nonprofit organization that offers accreditation to institutions engaged in research involving human participants.

See more information:
The Board of Governors of the Clinical Center >
Clinical Center Medical Executive Committee >

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