Why to accredit your healthcare organisation?
There are many healthcare organisations that have implemented an QMS using ISO 9001 or accreditation standards and then decided that it would be a good idea to have an independent accreditation body come and check out the system. In some EU countries accreditation is a voluntary process, but in some others this is a mandatory. Even if you do not have a legal or madatory requirements for accreditation, but have chosen to implement one for your own sake, it is often beneficial for improvement and patient safety purposes to have an external surveyor with a greater breadth of clinical and/or PE experience to look at your processes and make comments in the form of non-conformities and opportunities for improvement .This can help you to further improve your patient system past what you might have been able to do yourself.
EU Directive 2011/24/EU is also good reason to be accredited. It clarifies the rules on access to healthcare in another EU country, including reimbursement. National authorities can introduce a system of “prior authorisation” for going to another Member State for treatment in 3 cases:
1. For healthcare which involves overnight hospital stay of at least one night
2. For highly specialised and cost-intensive healthcare
3. In serious and specific cases relating to the quality or safety of the care provided by the particular provider in question
In these three cases, patients may need to ask for permission in advance from their national health authority in charge of reimbursement.
National health authorities can refuse authorisation if the treatment in question, or the healthcare provider in question, could present a risk for the patient. If the healthcare can be provided at home within a medically justifiable time limit, then authorisation can also be refused. Accreditation is certanly good evidence that risks are under control.
One of the important reason that accrediting your organisation can help with your implementation is the deadline that is imposed when a accreditation survey is scheduled. When there is a hard end date, such as the accreditation body surveyors coming to the organization, it can provide motivation to some employees to finish their planned tasks that will complete their part of the accreditation implementation. Managing the implementation to avoid delays is important, and this can help with some employees.
Implementing the accreditation system, although beneficial to your organisation, still incurs a cost. If you have decided that it is a good thing for your organisation to implement an accreditation system to better control your patient safety, then you have already decided that the expense is worth it.
If the benefits are there, then find the best accreditation body for your organisation and use it to improve your overall system. Survey outcome will show you the direction towards continious improvement and increse of patient safety.