International hospital accreditation the way it was meant to be.


Highly collaborative annual surveys that don’t dictate policies and templates, but trigger the talent and know-how of hospital staff to find the absolute best way to do things is the message that a new rival to JCI is putting over, initially in the US. And it seems to be working. One problem is that many states only allow their own accreditation or JCI accreditation , but state laws are changing. While the hospitals the group picked up initially tended to be small and/or country ones, it is beginning to take major hospitals from JCI, the latest being Group Health Central Hospital in Seattle.

So who is the newcomer? Houston based DNV Healthcare is part of the independent Norwegian foundation DNV that goes back to 1864. Their core competence is how to identify, assess, and advise on how to manage risk, with offices in a hundred countries. The initial focus is on the USA, but the longer-term aim is to make healthcare safer and more effective worldwide.

Late last year, DNV’s innovative NIAHO accreditation program passed the rigorous evaluation process of the US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS); DNV Healthcare became the first new US hospital accreditation organization in more than 40 years.

Underlying NIAHOSM standards are tightly coupled to the Medicare Conditions of Participation. DNV developed its NIAHO standards for hospital accreditation, building upon ISO 9001, a quality management standard that DNV says enables hospitals to most effectively address and avoid problem issues.  ISO 9001 is specifically designed to address service organizations and is proven as a basis for quality improvement.

In essence, NIAHO requires hospitals to implement ISO 9001 as a means to achieving compliance. ISO 9001 is a vehicle to implement and maintain a quality management system that ensures compliance across all hospital processes. ISO 9001 is the "what," not the "how: giving hospitals much greater flexibility than the Joint Commission approach. In addition to the annual survey visits, each department in a hospital needs to be audited by another department on an annual basis.

The worldwide potential is huge, as DNV has conducted ISO certifications of over 1200 health care facilities worldwide. DNV stresses that ISO 9001 compliance is not required on day one in order to obtain DNV accreditation, it can be completed later. It is a revolutionary approach that turns accreditation into a strategic business advantage – by creating new standards of excellence from the skills, experience and ingenuity that already exist in a hospital.

Yehuda Dror, president of DNV Healthcare says, “The World Health Organization is actively promoting the concept of accreditation for all hospitals. The optimum solution will provide a clear foundation of best practices but also allow for local innovation. That is precisely the design of our NIAHOSM program. Now hospitals can choose to integrate proven quality systems into an annual accreditation process that is less complicated to administer.”

DNV offers risk-based certification as the standard way of conducting all management system certification, which evaluates how a management system handles risks, i.e. identifying strengths, weaknesses, and improvement opportunities.



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