Recently, the healthcare quality landscape witnessed a landmark achievement, with Spain’s Quirónsalud group becoming the first private hospital chain in the world to obtain the prestigious JCI gold seal for quality at the enterprise level.

The role of quality in delivering healthcare has continuously evolved with many contributions that are now followed as standards and best practices. Starting with Florence Nightingale in 1854, progress in healthcare quality was driven by milestone developments in aspects such as documentation, education, innovation, and sterilization, to name a few. Healthcare quality accreditation started with the American College of Surgeons initiating a process to establish the ”minimum standards” required of hospitals nationwide in 1952. The impact of healthcare quality accreditation grew with the widespread adoption of internationally established care standards and continuous improvement by healthcare facilities of all sizes, from large specialized hospitals to community health centers and long-term care facilities. Enterprise-wide quality accreditation is a newly added level of recognition awarded to eligible healthcare organizations with multiple facilities.

The growth of medical tourism on a global scale further highlights the purpose of international quality accreditation as an indicator of the standard of care. Patients need the right information to choose a healthcare provider. They often tend to select one that practices safe patient care with low risks and are more likely to go to hospitals where they believe the chance of suffering an adverse outcome is minimal. Accreditation helps them in choosing a healthcare facility. This particularly applies to medical tourism, where patients with complex conditions look to select a healthcare facility that would provide high-quality care in a low-risk setting.

This article covers the significance of quality in healthcare, the momentous task of ensuring enterprise-wide quality standards, what it means for patients, and more.

Quirónsalud group achieves JCI accreditation for their entire chain

The landmark achievement by Quirónsalud Group in obtaining JCI Enterprise accreditation speaks for the group’s commitment to providing the highest-quality care, treatment, and services.

The preparation process took around six months involving over 40 people from both the corporate and hospital level.

The application process was not without its challenges. The preparation involved gathering information and explaining all the processes developed according to the JCI standards structure and requirements to the accreditation body. Coordination with different bodies was also a part of the challenge that the group undertook and aced.

Periodical meetings were conducted with the different teams involved in the accreditation process to first analyze the standards, understand the evidence needed to be gathered and discuss how to organize the information. This helped in substantiating the work that has been done in each area and, specifically, to show how their processes were aligned with quality and patient safety. Being a very large organization, the group utilizes many centralized corporate systems, dashboards, coordination meetings, and such to ensure that the entire network is aligned with the corporate policies. Best practices are shared to benefit company-wide know-how.

The surveyors conducted an exhaustive audit in which the group’s healthcare delivery and operational management systems were evaluated in terms of quality of care, patient safety and the effectiveness and efficacy of its clinical and support processes. Different aspects were analyzed, such as governance, strategic plans, safety, quality, and overall improvement of the services provided, along with ethical management, information management, technology and human resources coordination.

With extraordinary leadership, excellence in care, and standardization in patient care and safety, Quirónsalud group has made steady strides committed to providing the best patient experience. The group has successfully carried out multiple actions to promote safety throughout the organization by standardizing processes, healthcare excellence and mitigating risks associated with healthcare. Adopting digital transformation at the workplace has freed employees from administrative tasks, enabling them to perform more patient-centric duties.

Attaining enterprise-wide JCI accreditation confirms the seamless alignment of Quirónsalud’s strategic lines, patient experience and safety, excellence in clinical practice, and digital transformation. Their focus on continuous improvement also reflects in the evolution of their results, culminating with Quirónsalud group becoming the first private hospital in the world to achieve JCI Enterprise accreditation.

The challenge of achieving Enterprise-wide accreditation

While many hospitals worldwide have achieved JCI accreditation, achieving enterprise-wide accreditation is no easy feat. It is much more complex and extensive than getting accreditation for a stand-alone hospital. The JCI Enterprise-wide accreditation goes over many of the areas that are already evaluated at the hospital level, however, it is more focused on how the corporate processes deliver standardized and coordinated policies. These primarily aim to ensure the following:

  • A safe environment that reduces the risk for patients and caregivers across the hospital chain.
  • Alignment and consistency across the organization
  • Stimulating and demonstrating enterprise-wide continuous and sustained improvement
  • Improving patient experience
  • Enhancing efficiency and standardizing care

Achieving enterprise-wide accreditation is a demanding effort necessitating advanced and efficient processes prioritizing quality and patient safety in all clinical and operational aspects. Hospitals and groups that attain the coveted gold seal typically already have many of the requisites laid out according to JCI standards.

How does accreditation benefit patients?

Accreditation is immensely beneficial not just for healthcare facilities but for patients as well. Apart from reassuring patients about the quality and standard of clinical care, it can lead to several benefits. Let us take a look at what healthcare accreditation means for patients.

  • Standards and policies based on best practices help to establish consistent practices that reduce risks and enhance quality.
  • A culture of delivering high quality healthcare and continual improvement necessitates appropriately qualified staff. Accredited organizations factor in training and skill development,  which help to improve the quality of care and patient safety.
  • The process of auditing and reporting adverse occurrences prioritizes patient safety, accountability, and continuous improvement.
  • Accreditation indicates that care settings are compliant with health and safety regulations, factoring in aspects such as infection control, safe management of equipment, safe injection practices, and so on.
  • The quality assessment process necessitates patient-centric standards. To ensure this, surveyors majorly focus on the wards, conversing with staff and patients and observing processes in action.
  • The preparation for the accreditation process entails all the departments, clinical and non-clinical, to closely work together. This fosters team spirit and enables a better understanding of how the organization works among the staff, which in turn can promote minimized staff and patient risks.

From management to medical care, accreditation takes into account the whole organization and reviews each and every department to ensure it follows the well-defined guidelines laid down by the accreditation body. The assessing body will evaluate if the processes being followed in all the departments are patient-centric.

Research into the association between accreditation and quality shows positive links. For instance, a study from the mid-1990s of 4221 hospitals found that the outcome of the treatment of acute myocardial infarction was comparatively better in JCI-accredited hospitals than in non-accredited ones.

More recently, in a study of 4400 US hospitals, out of which 3337 were accredited and 1063 were reviewed by a state body, accredited hospitals performed better on readmission measures for medical conditions.

In Conclusion

According to research, healthcare accreditation remains a cornerstone for ensuring an optimal level of quality in patient care. Patients look for healthcare facilities that they can trust and that provide safe and effective care. Accreditation, if done correctly, can be a medium to foster that confidence in patients.

Enterprise accreditation is focused on delivering standardized and coordinated policies across the entire chain of operations. Besides ensuring alignment and consistency across the organization, it provides a safe space that reduces the risk for both patients and caregivers across the hospital chain. Wider adoption of enterprise accreditation among healthcare groups can be beneficial for both organizations and patients. Quirónsalud group’s achievement of enterprise accreditation marks another milestone in the evolution of healthcare quality, potentially transformative for the global healthcare industry.

About Quirónsalud Hospital Group

Quirónsalud Hospital Group comprises over 100 hospitals, institutes, and other health centers located in 13 regions of Spain. Every facility within Quirónsalud group shares the company's values of clinical excellence, cutting-edge technology, commitment to innovation and research, and personalized treatment of patients and their families.

With a highly advanced network of health centers throughout Spain, the group covers all medical specialties, leading the industry in areas such as type II diabetes, oncology, cardiovascular health, neurology, endocrinology, gynecology, pediatrics, and orthopedic surgery. Quirónsalud also operates specialized centers for assisted reproductive technology, ophthalmology, and cardiology.

At Quirónsalud, cutting-edge technology and advanced expertise converge, positioning the group as a leading global provider of medical services.


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