NABH International redefines healthcare delivery in the developing world
Initially developed and successfully implemented in India, NABH has gained recognition for its standards and as an organization by the International Society for Quality in Healthcare (ISQua) – the international body that grants approval to healthcare accrediting agencies – as a seal of excellence under its International Accreditation Program. With that, NABH has acquired a unique status: it has become one of the few accrediting organizations in the world to achieve this recognition.
According to Dr. Sanjiv Malik, International Advisor on the Board of NABH and presently working as CEO of Aster chain of hospitals and medical centers in GCC and Senior Vice President in DM Healthcare LLC, “This is the first time that NABH, under the banner of NABH International, is taking its services outside India. We chose Philippines to be our first international venue because we believe that the Philippines faces similar healthcare challenges as India.”
In the first two years of NABH implementation, said Dr. Malik, the quality of healthcare delivery in India improved a lot. “It helped us become one of the leading providers of healthcare in the world. We would like to carry out the same mission in the Philippines,” he said.
Launched under the aegis of NABH International’s exclusive Philippine representative HealthCORE, the globally-recognized accreditation program has a wide vision: it seeks to improve the conditions, systems, processes and skills of healthcare facilities and professionals in the country through internationally recognized and accredited standards, NABH International will help in the training of consultants and assessors for the hospital, spas, clinics and other healthcare services providers in the Philippines. A tertiary hospital along with four small healthcare organizations, and a spa have been identified under the pilot project for accreditation.
Just very recently, NABH International expanded further its reach when the Dubai Health Authority recognized NABH International as an “approved accrediting agency for hospitals” in the United Arab Emirates. This makes NABH International one of the fastest growing accrediting bodies of ISQua since it started in 2008.
Dr. Girdhar Gyani, former CEO and now Advisor to NABH International underlined the fact that “all bodies, whose standard are accredited by ISQua, basically conform to common criteria as established by ISQua. Technically speaking, all bodies are expected to operate at the same level of competence. There can be difference in their organizational functioning. Some may be under government, some private and some being not-for-profit.
The major difference between NABH International and other international accreditations is affordable cost. Dr. Gyani stressed the fact that since NABH International is a not-for-profit body, “By rule, it cannot charge more fees except what is needed for maintaining their operations,” adding, “in no case would the services of NABH International be inferior to other international bodies, just because it has a lower cost.
”NABH International is primarily launched to facilitate and redefine quality healthcare delivery in the developing world”, continued Dr. Malik. “No one – especially the poor patients – would be affected because of the expenses incurred by a hospital for accreditation process. The initial expenses put in for accreditation are largely to align the infrastructure and training. It was truly like making an investment for a good cause and once accreditation gets institutionalized, the wasteful process gets eliminated and the hospital actually begins to gain even in financial terms.”
Dismissing any conflict between NABH International and PhilHealth (Philippine Health Insurance Corporation) or PCAHO (Philippine Council on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations), Dr. Malik said, “NABH International being a not-to-profit body will not get into any unethical competition with other bodies.”
He added: “NABH International would extend the accreditation program to health providers conforming to global standards. It will have no conflict or competition with PhilHealth. As and when required NABH International will facilitate local capacity building within the local systems.”
Accreditation by NABH International calls for assessing the competency of a hospital in terms of its infrastructure, biomedical equipment, manpower, systems, processes and clinical outcomes, with respect to the intended scope of services. Differentiating between ISO certification and the accreditation by NABH International, Dr. Gyani clarified, “ISO 9001 was a generic management system certification while the NABH International accreditation was specifically designed for healthcare providers and operated by experts form healthcare industry.”
As the Philippines aspire to position itself as an international healthcare destination, its world-class doctors, nurses, and therapist need the same world-class operational framework to practice their profession.
As Dr. Sanjiv Malik concludes, “Accreditation is a practical solution to one of the main issues in medical travel, which is quality and patient safety assurance. We cannot underestimate its importance since international accreditation allows our healthcare provider to convey strong message to patients that it has undergone rigorous external assessment which has been benchmarked globally. It builds credibility and confidence, and which finally, generates recognition among patients, both local and foreign alike.”