The American Hospital Dubai was the first private hospital in the Middle East to be awarded Joint Commission International Accreditation, in May 2000.
Joint Commission International Accreditation (JCIA) is a division of the American-based Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organization (JCAHO). JCAHO is the largest accredit or of healthcare organizations in the USA. Approximately 20,000 organizations are surveyed annually by the JCAHO. Accreditation visually demonstrates an organization's commitment to:
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- Improving quality
- Ensuring a safe environment for patients and staff
- Reducing risks to patients and staff
- Accreditation is an effective quality evaluation and management tool
The JCAHO has been surveying hospitals internationally for many years against the US standards. In 1998 a subsidiary body, the Joint Commission International (JCIA), was created to develop standards applicable to the international community. The development of the International standards was actively overseen by an international task force whose members were from each continent. The draft standards were reviewed by key stakeholders in over 15 countries. Focus groups were held in 7 countries and in addition evaluation test surveys were conducted in Latin American, Western Europe and the Middle East, before the standards were finalized.
The first edition of the JCIA standards was published in late 1999. These standards are organized around the important functions common to all healthcare organizations. The standards are grouped by those functions related to providing patient care and those related to providing a safe, effective and well-managed organization. The functions apply to the entire organization. The survey process gathers standards compliance information throughout the organization, and the accreditation decision is based on the overall level of compliance found throughout the organization.
The American Hospital Dubai, which opened in 1996, was the first private hospital to provide care in the city of Dubai. The establishment of the hospital came as a response to feasibility studies which demonstrated the need for a western standard and, in particular American standard, healthcare facility in the region that would provide world class service similar to healthcare institutions in the United States of America.
The American Hospital Dubai was therefore planned, designed, built and equipped to meet American standards, and the original development of operating guidelines was planned so as to comply with western standards of healthcare..
The American Hospital Dubai's mission is to provide high quality, cost effective, US standards of healthcare which meet the needs of the people of Dubai and the surrounding Gulf States.
Commitment to continuous improvement began with the initial concept and vision of the hospital owner. The accreditation of the hospital by the Joint Commission - an important element of the original vision - ensures that continuous improvement is integral to the operation of the facility.
The initial focus in 1996 was to:
- Align leadership, both medical and non-medical, with the hospital mission, vision, and strategic objectives.
- Develop a Performance Improvement focus with Joint Commission standards as the driving force behind processes.
- A commitment to provide the resources necessary to create a state of perpetual readiness for an accreditation survey.
- During the initial two years of operation the JCAHO standards were utilized to develop processes and hospital-wide policies and procedures. In 1999 eleven Task Force Groups were established to evaluate current processes against the newly developed JCIA standards, to target areas of improvement and/or change, to assign responsibilities of actions noted and required and to assign completion dates. It was decided an intensive and accelerated effort was required to ensure full compliance with JCIA standards.
In June of 1999 the JCIA were invited to American Hospital Dubai for a site visit. The purpose was to provide education to staff concerning standards and their implementation, and to conduct a hospital-wide mock survey against the standards. At the completion of the site visit the JCIA team assisted in developing an improvement plan to achieve compliance with standards within achievable time frames.
Following the site visit Task Force Groups reconvened to further re-review standards and ensure that all recommendations from the site visit were met.
In May 2000 the American Hospital submitted to a formal survey by the JCIA. Three surveyors from the US Joint Commission, an experienced professional nurse, physician, and hospital administrator spent 3 days surveying all elements of the hospital’s services. The survey was hospital-wide with a multi-disciplinary approach. Results of the survey demonstrated high levels of compliance against standards throughout the entire facility with an overall score of 9.96 of a possible score of 10. In addition, the hospital received three commendations for exemplary performance:
- Management of Information
- Quality Management and Improvement
- Facility Management and Safety
The Hospital''s Performance Improvement process continues to drive improvement efforts hospital-wide. The eleven task force teams continue to meet quarterly to identify further opportunities for improving processes and to co-ordinate and drive these initiatives. An internal mock survey was conducted in June 2001 using the Joint Commission survey check list to identify additional improvement opportunities. Mock surveys are conducted annually up until the last two reaccreditations, which took place in 2003 and 2006.
In addition to JCI Accreditation the Laboratory Service of the American Hospital Dubai has been awarded the College of American Pathologist Accreditation (CAP). It is the first laboratory in the Middle East to be awarded CAP. In June of 2001 inspectors, pathologists and other Laboratory personnel examined the records and quality control of the laboratory for the preceding two years, as well as the education and qualification of staff, the adequacy of the facilities, the equipment, laboratory safety, and management to evaluate the service provision to patients
The management and the staff are of the American Hospital Dubai is fully committed to providing quality standards based healthcare and believes that both initiatives, Joint Commission International Accreditation and College of American Pathologist Accreditation, fully support and enhance the organization''s vision and mission.