India has emerged as a hotspot for medical tourism in recent years due to its high quality healthcare at affordable rate, but, just 491 hospitals in the country are recognised by the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers (NABH) for maintaining healthcare standards thus leaving a vast population of the country access healthcare services of substandard.
NABH accreditation is a recognition of the achievement of quality standards by a healthcare facility. It is given following an independent external peer assessment of the healthcare facility’s level of performance in patient safety and related standards. NABH standards have been accredited by International Society for Quality in Health Care (ISQua), which sets standards for various accrediting bodies.
According to WHO, quality of care is the level of attainment of health systems' intrinsic goals for health improvement and responsiveness to legitimate expectations of the population.
In India, till January 2017, there are nearly 2 lakh hospitals. Out of them, only 491 hospitals have received accreditation for quality assurance and there is no government hospital in list of 491 NABH accredited hospitals.
"The Hospital Accreditation" approach is a concept and practice that yields beneficial results to patients, customers, hospital personnel, the hospital, the Faculty of Medicine, the society and the country as a whole. Every patient in the country where he is visiting a government hospital or private hospital deserves quality healthcare. Evidence shows the hospitals which are accredited have a higher quality and better patient safety. Accreditation should not be limited to private hospitals. The government hospitals also need to be part of the accreditation process, said ISQua chief executive officer Peter Lachman.
The number of hospitals in India going for NABH accreditation is on rise but accreditation is a long way to go in the country. Accreditation is a continuous process. The hospitals going for accreditation start journey of continuous improvement. It is need of the hour that every hospital goes for accreditation, said Lachman.
The hospitals opting for accreditation need to meet certain quality standards which is a costly affair. Every hospital can not afford it. For this, the government bodies in a number of countries have embarked on an initiative to make accreditation process affordable for hospitals. The government of India needs to come up with an initiative in this regard. The government can provide processes where hospitals can improve quality of care. Without this, we can not expect every hospital opts for accreditation, he added.
We need to design a process for hospitals that can not afford accreditation which inspires them to improve. There are many approaches to do it. Collaborative approach is one of them where non accredited hospitals can collaborate with accredited hospitals so that they can learn to improve healthcare quality, he opined.