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Taking quality to the last man in the line

National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers (NABH) is one of the constituent boards of Quality Council of India (QCI). Since its inception in 2006, NABH has played a pivotal role in effecting a remarkable and a significant positive change in the approach taken by the healthcare providers toward patient safety and delivery of the healthcare services to the patients, in India.
Currently the board is running more than 21 programs under the broad categories of accreditation, certification, and empanelment: partnering with more than 9600 hospitals providing services to hospitals in an objective, non-discriminatory manner regardless of their ownership, size or location.
All, NABH standards focus on patient safety and quality and comprehensively address the entire operations and parameters of healthcare delivery.
NABH as an organization and some of its standards are accredited by International Society for Quality in Healthcare (ISQua). This approval validates that NABH standards are in consonance with the global benchmarks.
Under the accreditation programs, NABH offers accreditation to hospitals, small healthcare organisations, Ayush hospitals, medical imaging services, blood banks dental care facilities, allopathic clinics, ethics committees, eye care organisations, and even primary health centres, and Panchakarma clinics.
NABH also offers certification for entry level hospitals & small healthcare organizations, medical laboratory, nursing excellence, emergency departments. Introduction of HOPE (Healthcare Organizations Platform for Entry Level Certification) program, by its transparent and objective processes, has kindled the interest in quality for small and smaller healthcare organizations.
NABH empanelment programs
NABH offers inspection schemes for empanelment under CGHS, ECHS, and Medical Value Travel Facilitator (MVTF).
NABH international
NABH has started its operations overseas under NABH International. It offers all accreditation programs as being offered in India. The program is unique as in addition to the accreditation standards, it requires compliance with local regulatory requirements.
Training and capacity building
NABH conducts a variety of training courses, including, programs on implementation, interactive workshops and awareness programs besides conducting assessor training courses.
Quality has been a great enabler of handling disasters
The current global pandemic of COVID-19 has forced us all to introspect, adapt, and adopt. It has brought to the forefront the significance of innate immunity, the value of good health free from co-morbidities and the importance of balance in all sphere of life.
It has also unhesitatingly taught us that quality and accreditation has been a great enabler in empowering the healthcare organizations, big and small, in managing this unprecedented disaster. Any hospital partnering with any NABH program and used to following SoPs and carrying out mock drills or implementing infection control practices managed to deliver better patient outcomes for both COVID and non-COVID cases.
Lessons from the pandemic for NABH
There are also learnings and messages for the NABH, which if we are able to imbibe can lead to better efficiency, productivity, and proficiency.
Share resources and best practices
The pandemic has revealed the importance of sharing resources and knowledge. The world has joined hands in an unparalleled attempt to limit misery and save lives. Dynamic and prompt sharing of PPEs, medicines, experiences lead to rapid transfer of best practices across platforms.
NABH too, in an effort to aid health agencies and providers shared critical data to augment capability, helped Industry bodies in creating virtual marketplaces of lifesaving equipment. It launched its Quality Connect: Learning with NABH, initiative and held multitude of free webinars on various quality related topics to enhance capacity of stakeholders. Further, from August 15, this year, all NABH standards which were earlier priced, are now available for free downloads and thus within easy reach of everyone interested.
Traditional knowledge and wisdom
Alternative Ayush therapies took mainstage by offering immunity building options complementing modern medicine like no other time. NABH in active partnership with the ministry of Ayush is already running a robust Ayush hospitals accreditation program.
All institutes of national importance are either already accredited or in advanced stages of implementing accreditation standards. The soon to be launched entry level Ayush program is going to take essentials of quality to the grassroots. It may help give more credibility and validation to smaller traditional centers and also help popularize these sciences further.
NABH: Healthcare standards for
Atmanirbhar Bharat
NABH offers a sterling example of self-reliant India. All our standards are home grown, more in sync with the realities of our diverse country yet benchmarked to the best in the world and without any compromise on the core principles. NABH and QCI continue to build on a strong legacy of propriety and probity.
Embracing virtual methodologies; enhancing safe digital health outreach
The pandemic facilitated NABH as an organization to seamlessly transit to low cost virtual assessment processes. The new methodologies are more transparent, objective, and greatly aid in reducing the turnaround times. NABH is also working to bring rationality and safety to the new offerings of telemedicine and telehealth by drafting Digital Health Standards, addressing the importance concerns of information, privacy, security, and interoperability.
Go beyond creating islands of excellence
The definitive learning from this pervasive pandemic has been to reach out to the people in far flung corners of our great big country.
Over the past few decades, India has managed to create islands of excellence in the shape of world class hospitals comparable to the best in the world.
If we are to successfully tackle, future disasters and challenges, we have to sensitize the masses about the essentials of infection control, good communication, surgical safety checklists, and other patient safety goals. If we are to proceed to the next level in healthcare delivery, we have to create a culture of quality in healthcare.
NABH remains pledged to take quality practices to furthest corners of our country.
NABH remains committed to take quality to the last man in the line.

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