American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

The 1919 “Minimum Standard” document

The 1919 Minimum Standard Document

The first “standard” document for hospital standardization was adopted by the American College of Surgeons Board of Regents on December 20, 1919. This much sought-after exposition represents years of hospital visits, surveys and research into hospital record keeping and administration as it existed in the second decade of the twentieth century.

As early as 1910 Ernest A. Codman of Boston was the first to point out the deplorable state of hospital records, and the corresponding problems with patient safety and care that existed. He made a statement at the Clinical Congress of Surgeons of North America in 1912 reporting that adequate records were essential to study end results, by which the efficiency of a hospital could be measured.

In 1913, the year of its founding, the American College of Surgeons appointed Codman to chair a committee on hospital standardization and to establish the College’s standardization program. This endeavor represents an integral part of the College’s history for it ultimately evolved into the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals in 1951, and the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations in 1987.

For more information and records about the College’s Hospital Standardization program and the historical background to the development of the JCAHO, see the College Archives.