Last week the surveyors from the US based joint Commission on International Accreditation (JCI) were in Hua Hin, visiting the Bangkok Hospital Hua Hin. This organization was established several years ago to inspect hospitals to establish that they complied with the latest international standards for patient care and patient safety. The visit was very successful and confirmed that we are practicing the high standards that are a hallmark of the Bangkok Hospitals network.
The U.S., Australia and the U.K. are among the many countries that have very successful accreditation systems and this concept continues to grow worldwide. As one would assume, the standards of international assessment are not the same as standards for facilities within the United States. In an interview the President and CEO of Joint Commission International, said “We determined that the existing American Joint Commission standards should not be used and we developed a set of international standards that could be applied to various health care systems and that would be sensitive to unique cultural issues. We feel that our standards are comparable, but different.” In other words, JCI does not expect that Thai hospitals be the same as American hospitals but that certain essential standards are the same.
The benefits of accreditation are countless for the organization involved. As a voluntary process, accreditation shows that a healthcare organization has a visible commitment towards improving the safety and quality of patient care by continually working to reduce risks. Accreditation is therefore an effective quality assurance tool for a healthcare organization.
Several hospitals in Thailand have already received their seal of approval and Bangkok Hospital Hua Hin (BHN) was the latest to undergo inspection. It is the hospital with the shortest record to be inspected. BNH Hospital in Bangkok was over 100 years old when it went through this process while BHN is only just over a year old.
Although hospitals such as BHN are private, non-government institutions, they are under constant observation to be sure that they are safe and are performing well. A periodical inspection of hospitals in Thailand is performed by the Health authorities and they have increasingly raised the standards that hospitals must achieve to be licensed
JCI is first interested in the governance and structure of the hospital, the process by which staff members are given credentials to work at the hospital and the methods used to monitor the quality of their work.
Every procedure that is performed in the hospital, an operation, an investigation or a medical treatment, has a policy and procedure to govern the way that it is performed and documentation is needed to show that these P and Ps are being followed.
JCI is very interested in patient safety and a great deal of time was spent looking at the building and facilities. There are very tight building codes to be followed in building a hospital. The tiles on the floor, the electrical and plumbing are all inspected, even the store rooms are visited to be sure that there is no fire hazards there. Methods to reduce the risks of falls and any personal injuries are a concern to the surveyors. The Bangkok Hospital Huahin was planned to incorporate all the measures needed to provide a safe environment and in this area the surveyors were very impressed with our thoughtful expertise.
The surveyors gave the hospital a rigorous onsite evaluation. The surveyors spent four days interviewing hospital leaders and staff on policies and procedures, looking in detail at hospital care for individual patients. In addition, they surveyed each department individually. The physical plant of the hospital, equipment, services, was subjected to evaluation. Focus was also placed on aspects such as patient safety, patient rights, medication management, bedsides policies and procedures, surgical infection and the ongoing assessment of medical staff and nurses, leadership of the organization and many others. Quite at random, they stopped staff members and asked them about their work and the training that they had been given.
The surveyors were very impressed with our activities in all these areas and were generous with their praise
Every hospital performs studies in areas where it is felt that improvement can be made and the results of these studies were presented to the surveyors.
In addition to being an inspection process it was a learning experience for the hospital. The Surveyors have seen so many good hospitals and were able to offer suggestions on how we could improve.
The surveyors gave a glowing report when they had finished and there is no doubt that we will be accredited from the remarks that they made.