“Maintaining Accreditation is an Annual Objective”
Healthcare is becoming more and more universal, and the interest in international accreditation is growing by the minute. Moreover, patients nowadays have enough awareness about the efficient healthcare requirements and are demanding more and more high-quality services. “Hospitals” magazine had the privilege to meet with Jamal Hammad, Deputy CEO of Al-Ahli Hospital and Director of Projects. Below is the full interview:
The outcome of accreditation is to improve patient safety and provide better quality care. How can you describe the impact of accreditation on your hospital and how is it an ongoing process?
First of all, it is perhaps important to emphasize that maintaining accreditation is by far more important and more difficult than achieving it. This is why the impact of accreditation is witnessed and felt throughout all hospital departments and operations on a day-by-day basis.
It becomes a daily routine to monitor, report and enhance measured parameters and key performance indicators (KPIs) that are relevant to guest safety and the quality of care delivered. It affects resources, process and the organizational complete structure; and – in some cases – even the infrastructure.
Your organization’s familiarity with quality improvement is key to a successful implementation of accreditation. Can you tell us how you make sure this is done properly?
The requirements of gathering evidence of quality improvement are the key under the Australian accreditation system (ACHSI) of which Al-Ahli Hospital is certified for the past 8 years and ongoing. The requirements are split into different categories and each is assigned to a lead who will need to work with staff members to monitor, collect and report on advancements in such requirements and the maintenance of the same.
The executive team of the hospital is key to ensure the continuity of the process and making sure that all the staff understand their role in achieving accreditation standards. How important is leadership and direction?
Very essential to say the very least. You cannot expect staff reporting to you to achieve set targets when they see their leaders ignoring the same.
For us at AAH, maintaining accreditation is an annual objective on the performance management of each responsible staff member; and the same is cascaded down or up in the leadership hierarchy.
What are the accreditation programs that your hospital has undergone, if any, and are you planning to pursue other accreditation programs?
Al-Ahli has been a certified Australian accredited institute (ACHSI) for the past 8 years now and currently is in its third accreditation cycle for yet another 4 years.
As of this moment, we have no intention to pursue other accreditation programs unless mandated to follow – as a requirement – a second “local” program under development by local regulatory authorities in the State of Qatar; to which we shall oblige.
What are the benefits of achieving accreditation and how does it help in reducing the cost of operation?
Benefits are summarized in guest (patient) safety and quality of care. Such high-level objectives always lead to financial rewards as a by-product of quality of care. Ignoring this will have a direct and indirect impact on cost of operations.
Do you think that your organization is ready for more accreditation programs? How do you think organizations should perform after getting an accreditation? Is it an ongoing process?
We are ready to accustom to any accreditation program that does not loses the focus from the guest’s care to documentation. ACHSI is a good-balanced program and – as mentioned before – focuses on collecting evidence of continuous improvements to maintain and sustain a quality of care model. After obtaining the certification, organizations must initiate a program for continuous improvements and this is harder than just achieving the certification. You have to invest a lot into staff behavior and beliefs to make it more of a “business culture”.
Clear policies and procedures are key to achieving accreditation success, how do you make sure that your staff apply them daily?
We appraise staff performance based on the implementation of such policies and procedures. It is that simple.