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We have updated our tracer tools to reflect the 2014 Joint Commission standards. There is one tracer tool for psychiatric hospitals that is based on the 2014 TJC Hospital standards. This tool can also be used for psychiatric units in acute care hospitals. There is another tracer tool for behavioral health organizations/programs that is based on the 2014 TJC Behavioral Health standards. Feel free to use or adapt our tracer tools as part of your Continuous Readiness Program. The tools are in PDF format. If you would like an Excel version that you can edit, email us and ask for “Excel tracer tools”.

A few notes about our tracer tools

They include the standards and topics typically reviewed during TJC surveys and the standards most frequently cited as non-compliant.

  • The tools follow the typical tracer flow used by surveyors. This includes the following components:
    • Unit/program tour
    • Clinical record review and staff interview
    • Inspection of medication storage area (if applicable)
  • The tracer tools can be modified based on the services you provide in your organization and settings.

Common Tracer Topics during 2013 Surveys

Some of the most common tracers selected by surveyors in 2013 included patients/clients in the following categories:

  • Those receiving services from multiple programs within the organization
  • Those who had been transferred from one program to another
  • Those with medical problems
  • Those needing nutritional assessments based on results of the nutrition screening
  • Those who had experienced physical holds or restraint/seclusion
  • Those who were about to be discharged

If your organization has a comprehensive Continuous Readiness Program in place, you are probably already conducting internal tracers. If not, make that one of your goals for the New Year. For more tips on conducting tracers, see our June 2011 newsletter article “Incorporate Tracers into your Continuous Readiness Program.”