High standards: Assunta Hospital’s Infection Control Nursing Sister V. Mageswari (second left) auditing a nurse attending to a patient.
IN ITS 60th year, Assunta Hospital continues to maintain its high standards by seeking professional accreditation.
“We realised the growing need to be aligned with globally accepted best practices and thus in 1995, we began the first step towards attaining accreditation,” said Assunta Hospital chief medical services officer and person in charge Dr Lourdes Dava Raj in an interview recently.
Dr Dava Raj, who is in charge of the clinical aspects of the hospital, said achieving ISO certification demonstrated Assunta’s ability to consistently meet customers’ needs satisfactorily, apart from fulfilling statutory and regulatory requirements.
“It is a form of self-assessment to gauge our competency in the industry, and being audited by external bodies is the only way to benchmark ourselves and keep abreast of international standards.
“We were the first hospital to be awarded the ISO Quality Management certification in 1996 and as an ongoing process, we had our latest standard ISO 9001:2008 evaluation process in 2009, where we maintained our accreditation.
“ISO certification is the global benchmark for quality management. It helps us improve on several levels such as in patient care, information flow, time management, service and performance,” said Dr Dava Raj.
He added that the rapid expansion and development in the healthcare industry had helped Assunta bring the standard of care provision to the next level in 2004 when it obtained accreditation from the Malaysian Society for Quality in Health (MSQH), a member of the International Society for Quality in Healthcare, which emphasises patient safety matters, among other standards.
On how it maintains the MSQH standards, Dr Dava Raj said the hospital does a self-assessment based on the criteria set once it is confident of substantial compliance.
Assunta has a special team of internal auditors to actively conduct periodic audits. The team comprises various sub-committees, which include Drugs, Medical Records, Blood Transfusion, Continuous Professional Development, Health Technology Assessment and Infection Control.
“Our continuous efforts and attention to quality and safety was recognised when we were awarded the full MSQH certification in 2004, 2007 and 2010 consecutively.
“A special MSQH Hospital Accreditation Performance Award for consistent performance was awarded to us in 2013,” said Dr Dava Raj, adding that it subsequently underwent the 4th MSQH Hospital Accreditation Standards in the same year and was awarded a full four-year accreditation status.
Another notable honour is the Hospital Management Asia (HMA) Award for Marketing, Public Relations or Promotional Project category, which was presented during the 9th Annual Asian Hospital Management Awards Night held in Seoul in 2010.
“We were awarded the first prize out of 281 projects submitted by 58 hospitals from 10 Asia-Pacific countries, for organising a cervical and breast cancer awareness programme.
“Subsequently in 2011, we emerged as the joint winner for the ‘Go Green — the green path to inspiring a positive work environment’ for HMA’s Service Improvement for Internal Customers Project Category,” said Dr Dava Raj, adding that Assunta went on to clinch the excellence award in 2013 for structuring charity projects under the Assunta Integrated Social Services (ASSISS) programme.
It was shortlisted out of 298 projects submitted by 78 hospitals from 13 countries. Assunta was the only Malaysian hospital that won.
Assunta chief executive officer and board chairman Peter Leong said the HMA award was also a significant milestone as HMA’s strategic partners are John Hopkins Medicine and Joint Commission International.
“We have created a name for ourselves in the healthcare industry for implementing innovative projects to serve our patients better, apart from making a difference in the improvement of healthcare in the community.
“It is a challenge trying to attain accreditation. However, it is even more challenging sustaining accreditation but is worth the effort,” said Leong.