Our hospitals are safe — and getting safer every day

04 September, 2018

The safer care saves money report by The Grattan Institute highlights the importance of investing in safety and quality in healthcare to achieve the best outcomes for patients and the best value for the health system and taxpayers.

‘It fails, however, to acknowledge the substantial work being done across the health system to achieve those goals’, says Alison Verhoeven, Chief Executive of the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA).

‘Over the past 40 years, accreditation of hospitals and health services has moved from setting standards for care to encouraging models of clinical governance which support and monitor safety and quality, and encourage quality improvement across all areas of our hospitals’, says Verhoeven.

Chief Executive of Queensland’s Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service, Professor Adrian Pennington, says Australia’s hospitals ‘lead the world in innovative programs that are moving from point-in-time accreditation to short-notice accreditation, where accreditation can occur with very limited notice, and business processes are in place to respond quickly and cost-effectively to audit requirements’.

‘Quality is everyone's business, and staff across the organisation are accountable for the care provided to patients.

‘This approach to accrediting our hospitals takes into account past and current performance, and considers aspirational directions—such as developing and implementing quality improvement programs aimed at improving care and reducing variation’, says Professor Pennington.

Verhoeven said, ‘The accreditation review announced last week by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare acknowledges the gains achieved through accreditation processes to make Australian hospitals safe, and points to the work now being done in partnership between governments, hospitals and accreditation bodies to make hospitals even safer’.

Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service’s innovative short notice accreditation pilot program will be shared with an international audience at an International Hospital Federation webinar on Wednesday 29 August. Professor Pennington will discuss the significant improvements the program has made to the quality of care being delivered, as well as learnings from the pilot program.

The Wide Bay pilot and Australia’s safe, high quality hospitals will also be showcased at the 2018 World Hospital Congress in Brisbane in October.

‘We can be proud of the work being done right across our health system every day to ensure Australians have access to safe, high quality care. Improvement is always a goal—suggestions that our hospitals are wasting resources and not aspiring to quality are unfair and do not acknowledge current quality initiatives right across the health system’, says Verhoeven.

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