The Joint Commission's Primary Source Verification Requirements

Technology advances have made it easier for individuals to forge their qualifications. This white paper summarizes The Joint Commission’s primary source verification requirements.

Resource thumbnailIntroduction
Recent advances in technology have made it far easier for individuals to forge their credentials and qualifications, including educational backgrounds and professional licenses. The risks associated with individuals using such tactics to obtain positions they are not qualified to hold increases significantly in a healthcare setting, where patients’ well-being and lives are on the line.

To alleviate such risks, the Joint Commission requires healthcare organizations to use “primary sources” to verify certain credentials, including medical school diplomas, specialty training or residency certificates, licenses to practice, registration with a medical or dental council or any other credential required by law, regulation or hospital policy, as well as any credentials issued by recognized education or professional entities as the basis for clinical privileges.1 The Joint Commission does not require other verifications, such as professional history, letters of recommendation, criminal background checks, identification verification, immigration and financial documents to be verified from the primary source, unless required by hospital policy.2