Inculcating Culture of Quality in Indian Hospitals & Labs

CAHO, a Quality Implementer body, is catching up fast, already 2 dozen hospitals on board

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New Delhi: Quality of care may be a scarce commodity even in hospitals having quality certifications from globally acclaimed agencies. Because accreditation tag should not be an end in itself, it should be the beginning of a process that never ends.

Quality accreditations for hospitals have been a dozen a dime in India. But it is found that tags of accreditation in most of the cases do not automatically perpetuate quality of care. CAHO (Consortium of Accredited Healthcare Organizations) is a coalition for making quality a defining component of a good hospital. The consortium is premised on the thinking that there must be an ongoing process to sustain the quality of care and make it an article of faith in a hospital.

CAHO is fast emerging as an effective instrument to fulfil this need of inculcating culture of quality in hospitals. Its various programs like fire safety, infection control, disaster management are coming handy in making hospitals worth their salt. CMC (Christian Medical College and Hospital) Vellore, the renowned teaching hospital, joining CAHO league speaks a volume about its growing relevance in the emerging healthcare scenario. JCI (Joint Commission International), gold standard of accreditation on global scale, is taking note and is sending feelers to collaborate with CAHO. The CAHOCON 2019 @Mumbai in April would showcase its global footprint in no uncertain terms. To fulfil objective CAHO (Under the guidance of NABH and QCI) has trained and certified professionals for quality implementation in hospitals (CPQIH).

So, CAHO is the new feather on cap to flaunt for hospitals to be claimant of quality care. It is a new milestone to underline that quality of care is a fiercely guarded component in a hospital. The organization is a motivator for quality.  Sample what 2019 CMC Vellore Newsletter has to say about CAHO. It reads, ‘The day marked yet another milestone for CMC for being recognised by CAHO as a Centre for Quality Promotion (CQP). (CAHO) The Consortium of Accredited Healthcare Organizations is a non- for- profit society that was formed to promote and improve the quality of healthcare in India. This prestigious recognition and plaque was presented by Dr Vijay Aggarwal, President, CAHO –.’ The occasion was National Conference in Safety in Healthcare, Occupations and quality (SHOQ-CON 2019) in the hospital.

Dr Vijay Aggarwal, president, CAHO in an interview with Medicare News talked at length about the relevance of society and its growing importance among comity of accredited hospitals. Dr Aggarwal said, ‘CAHO is a coalition for creating a culture of quality in accredited hospitals and laboratories. It is building an ecosystem in Indian Healthcare where patients’ rights would be served best. Quality in hospitals does not mean treatment cost escalation at all.’

He adds. ‘Quality of care should be an inalienable component of healthcare. CAHO is making all out efforts towards fulfilling that mission across the nation. CAHO are also making videos to make patients aware of their rights. Patients’ rights and education is part of CAHO outreach. It uses Webinar to train hospitals. CAHO webinars getting a place on International society for Quality Accreditation also speaks about its growing importance. CAHO runs training programs to create an army of quality implementers for accredited hospitals.’

Dr Agarwal further said, ‘Mere seal of accreditation is not a guarantor of quality care. Attaining culture of quality care calls for an elaborate process. CAHO has fulfilled this unmet need of accredited hospitals.   When we say quality, what is the thermometer to gauge it? The answer may be NABH and JCI accreditation. Well, there are 600 objective elements of quality. CAHO sees to it that these elements get infused in a hospital to make it worth its accreditation. It is sad that quality of care is still not a much sought after goal among hospitals. It is evident from the fact that it has been 13 years since NABH (National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers), a constituent of Quality Council of India, came into being but hardly one or two percent hospitals are certified from it. There is an urgent need for Expansion of NABH. There is not much difference between objectives of JCI and NABH. The fact is there are some hospitals which though have JCI accreditation, fail to measure up to NABH.’

‘The pressure on NABH is increasing by the day to revoke accreditation from erring hospitals. There could be no hospital in the world where mistakes do not happen. The biggest test of quality is learning from mistakes. NABH is not a punitive body. CAHO is of the opinion that NABH should see whether a particular hospital learnt from mistakes or not. On the basis of a solitary adverse event, the accreditation cannot be revoked,’ added Dr Aggarwal.

5th International Conference of CAHO, CAHOCON 2019 @Mumbai on 13th &14th April, 2019 at Sahara Star Hotel will be an occasion to showcase its growing relevance and its worldwide recognition. Its journey so far in improving quality and safety of healthcare services has been very satisfying. The theme of CAHOCON 2019 is ‘Healthcare Quality should impact Outcome’. CAHOCON 2019 aims to share the best practices developed and implemented by healthcare organizations nationally and internationally. The multifaceted panel of eminent national and international speakers will be deliberating on the theme’s relevance in today’s healthcare industry during these two days.

Pre Conference Workshops and Master Classes will be organised on 12th April in partnering Mumbai Hospitals. The collaboration of participating hospitals has facilitated the implementation of various projects which will be showcased. Various research presentation, poster presentation, debates and panel discussions will be the highlight and not to mention, the quality awards, the limelight and show stopper of the event. First time CAHO will have a Mega-Industry Expo.

There are a growing number of healthcare organizations achieving NABH, NABL and JCI accreditation. CAHO serves as a common platform that facilitates communication amongst the accredited HCOs (Healthcare Organizations), share best practices, and provide benchmarking, while promoting and continuously improving the quality and safety of healthcare services provided by the HCOs across India, in collaboration with all stakeholders. CAHO has been actively involved in promoting NABH and NABL accreditation in the country.

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