ISO 9001 is a universal quality management standard adopted by organizations across all industries to standardize and improve the services offered to their customers. It is the most recognized quality management standard at the global level, boasting more than 1.1 million certificates given to organizations in 178 countries.
In the healthcare sector, ISO 9001:2008 was adopted to provide a structure for service provision, compliance improvement, and monitoring for quality assurance. The standard was adopted across the healthcare sector, including care homes and third sector community health service providers, to help in risk management and compliance to statutory requirements whilst maintaining a working partnership with clinical services.
ISO 9001:2015, which an improvement of the former ISO 9001:2008 requires healthcare providers to adjust their quality management systems in response to the changing and more demanding regulatory and statutory framework.
The standard provides the specific requirements for a quality management system that enhances the ability to deliver risk-based and high-quality customer-based services that not only meet patient needs but also comply with legal and statutory requisites.
The major reason for the adoption of ISO 9001 standard in healthcare is to improve quality and enhance patient safety through a quality management system that provides patient-centered care as the core principle of all Health and Social care provision.
How ISO 9001 Assists in the Planning and Running of Healthcare Services
Clause 4: Requires an organization to define the context of its services and the interests of all parties involved to ensure they are met. In this case, these parties include patients, commissioners, private health colleagues, customers, insurers, and regulatory bodies. Through this clause, it will be easy for healthcare providers to plan the processes of service delivery.
Clause 5: Requires an organization’s leadership to demonstrate their understanding of service requirements by establishing policies and ensuring sufficient resources are allocated to provide these services. This clause helps hospital management in outlining responsibilities, defining roles, as well as authority through effective communication of the same to each party.
Clause 6: Healthcare organizations are required to define and manage risks associated with service provision, including equipment, clinical resources, and infrastructure.
Clause 7: Sufficient support services are essential in the healthcare sector as they help in creating a smooth operational system. Under this clause, healthcare providers are required to have competent staff together with adequate resources and a conducive working environment to support its functions.
Clause 9: Performance evaluation is essential in ensuring improvement in service delivery. This clause helps hospitals in setting up a performance evaluation technique that includes regular audits and patient satisfaction measurements with a management review system.
Clause 10: Hospitals should implement an effective complaint, incidents, and non-conformity management system coupled with a correction and improvement system aimed at reducing risks and improvement of services.
Benefits of Implementing IS0 9001 in Healthcare
- Uniformity of methodologies and objectives: this allows healthcare providers to have a unified way to pursue their goals in service delivery
- Costs: Having a standardized quality management system in hospitals helps in reducing management and administrative expenses associated with training and related expenses. Moreover, the shared processes allow staff in the sector to transfer and work at other sites seamlessly with minimum training.
- Improved customer satisfaction: The ultimate goal of ISO implementation is to ensure delivery of customer-centered services, which ensure customer satisfaction. With ISO 9001, healthcare providers ensure a continuous improvement cycle that ensures the provision of better services based on responses from customers.
- Improved staff morale: Shared objectives within an industry coupled by defined corrective action processes that are supported by robust risk management and corrective action procedures ensure that staff have a defined goal towards their work inurn improving their morale
- Information sharing: standardized processes within the healthcare sector allow the sharing of data and information with the various parties involved, which ensure greater efficiency and lower costs in pursuit of objectives.
Getting Started For Certification
To have a certified quality management system in place, you will need to know the requirements of the ISO 9001 standard and set clear targets for implementation within your organization. The key important steps towards certification include:
- Familiarize yourself with the ISO 9001 standard. Get all the information through training programs for all staff available on the International Organization Standards website iso.org
- Assess your current management system to identify gaps through assessments by DNV GL- Business Assurance
- Take action to improve the areas that need enhancement in preparation of certification
- Ensure top management commitment to service delivery
- Engage an accredited and certified body to commence the certification process
ISO 9001 certification offers reliable improvements to service delivery in the healthcare system. Although there are other accreditation programs recognized in this sector, ISO 9001 registration and certification offers a methodical and systematic approach towards service delivery in health care. It might seem daunting to implement it at first, but once in place, it is easier to maintain and capable of offering high-quality services to your customers.