Leading independent standards company BSI Group Australia and New Zealand warns that private sector health services organisations will have to transition to the National Safety and Quality Health Services Standards (NSQHS) by the start of 2013.
The new standards will apply to organisations such as private hospitals, day surgeries and clinics, IVF clinics and reproductive technology companies.
The NSQHS has been developed by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare, and mandated by the federal and state governments, focussing on 10 key areas that aim to drive the implementation and use of safety and quality systems to improve the quality of health service outcomes for patients.
Largely based on the worldwide recognised ISO 9001 Quality Management Systems (QMS), the ten core standards are rigorous, and firms must adhere to them to maintain access to insurance funding.
The ten core NSQHS standards include:
- Governance for Safety and Quality in Health Service Organisations
- Partnering with Consumers
- Preventing and Controlling Healthcare Associated Infections
- Medication Safety
- Patient Identification and Procedure Matching
- Clinical Handover
- Blood and Blood Products
- Preventing and Managing Pressure Injuries
- Recognising and Responding to Clinical Deterioration in Acute Healthcare
- Preventing Falls and Harm from Falls
He also points out that companies have been given less than a year to comply with the NSQHS standards with only nine months to the deadline.
The NSQHS Standards will require firms to demonstrate that they have suitable control of their chemicals and drugs, appropriate controls to verify the qualifications of all medical staff, and that they can accurately track patient records from admission to discharge. Many private hospitals already have rigorous management systems in place that deliver high-quality healthcare outcomes, but NSQHS certification can also deliver a more robust financial bottom-line.
Mr Koukoulas comments that a study by BSI of about 10,000 UK firms in a number of sectors with revenues above £50 Million ($74.1 Million), found that certification improved profitability by 5-15% on average against those competitors who didn’t have accreditation.
Additionally, NSQHS certification can also minimise the risks of high profile and damaging events in the healthcare industry.
During the transitional phase to 1 January 2013, BSI will work with hospitals as they progressively start to implement the NSQHS Standards in tandem with their existing accreditation arrangements.
BSI is providing ongoing training and information workshops for the benefit of many private health services firms who are strapped for cash and resources so that they can implement the mandatory NSQHS standards by the January 1, 2013 deadline.
BSI will be hosting several more workshops around Australia to assist firms in transitioning to the new standards.