Accreditation, Hallmark of Health Care Quality in India: Dr. Narottam Puri

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Puri explained the accreditation process of NABH as a publicly recognised
national body on, “the achievement of a set of standards by a healthcare
organization, demonstrated through an independent external assessment of that
organisation’s level of performance in relation to the standard”. As part of
licensing and certification, hospital and healthcare services must also include
accreditation to suffice health facilities of premier quality. Interestingly
the suggestion for accreditation of healthcare services came from the Ministry
of Tourism and WTO (World Tourism Organisation). When medical tourists enquired
if a hospital was accredited, there was no answer; hence a set of standards was
needed to be in place and to accomplish the task professionals from medical
field and ancillary sectors were trained for the purpose.

Accreditation is Beneficial

most part of health care facility in India is in the hands of the private
sector and a marginal portion belongs to the government. According to Dr. Puri,
private hospitals offer services that are partly treated like hotels and partly
handled as medical fragment, the latter of course taken for granted and not
questioned. So an assessor (NABH authorised supervising personnel) does not
merely check if a hospital meets the guidelines. NABH also monitors if the
hospital meets the standards set by the self in the previous year, what is termed
as the Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI), which like in any other management
helps maintain or even improve the quality of healthcare services. As for
benefitting the staff, accreditation provides good working environment and
promotes ownership of clinical processes. For example instead of penalising a
nurse over an error, Dr. Puri suggested explaining to the nurse the need to
bear responsibility for his/her actions, so as to avoid them in the future.
Finally addressing the advantage of accreditation to others, such as members
availing (Central Government Health Scheme) CGHS and civilians it assures
“accessibility to reliable and certified information on facilities,
infrastructure and level of care.”

Asserting Reliability of NABH

three ‘A’s emphasised by Dr. Puri concerning hospital and healthcare services
are Accessibility, Affordability and Assurance. NABH is striving to establish
the third A – Assurance in the healthcare services. The NABH which emerged as a
national body is uniquely tailored for Indian healthcare system and was an
initiative by India to provide good quality services. Dr. Puri did not deny
non-availability and non-affordability of healthcare services, but reinstated
the achievement of excellence in healthcare industry via NABH. Observing the
lack of surprise checks by NABH to uphold standards, last week Dr. Puri
proposed the plan to the body. Furthermore governments have mandated and even
requested NABH to frame standards on occasions such as the Kerala government
requesting to set minimum standards for the average lab. So a lab accredited at
level 3 can improve to reach a level 5. Similarly, to frame the Clinical
Establishment Act, the central government has asked the NABH to develop
standards to judge or assess a nursing home.

The vital need for accreditation is in the interest of
“the benefit a patient gets, the very people that healthcare providers serve. A
patient must know what is important for his safety, whether it is in practise
or not, whether his rights are protected and whether the services are provided
by a qualified and credential practitioner,” stressed Dr. Narottam Puri.

Source: Medindia

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