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Accreditation Canada Opens Doors, Provides Competitive Advantage for Ecuador’s Public Health System: Hospital General Babahoyo (IESS) – Ecuador

September 4, 2017

Hospital General BabahoyoAccreditation Canada (AC) accreditation brings with it cachet, competitive advantage, and a world of possibility, according to a senior leader at Hospital General Babahoyo (IESS) in Babahoyo, Ecuador.

“After our accreditation, there were many open doors for our hospital, as we were nationally recognized as one of the best IESS hospitals in Ecuador, being in compliance with Canadian standards,” says Dr. Edwin Mejia Tapia, Hospital and Ambulatory Technical Director at Hospital General Babahoyo. “The accreditation process was a positive experience for our organization.”

He noted that in Ecuador, private health services have often been preferred over public health services. Accreditation, however, strengthens Ecuador’s public health system, pushing people to have more confidence in it, according to Dr. Mejia Tapia. “Accreditation has been useful in strengthening a continuous improvement culture focused on patient safety,” he says.

Hospital Babahoyo’s readiness assessment took place in July 2016 and the accreditation survey followed in November 2016. In an interview, Dr. Mejia Tapia noted that the hospital’s accreditation process was challenging, as it only gave itself about three months to prepare for its survey.

“We assumed a lot of responsibility and worked extended hours, weekends and holidays.”

He adds staff members and directors were supportive of the accreditation process.

Guadalupe Ormaza Z., a Healthcare Improvement Advisor for Accreditation Canada, explains that Hospital Babahoyo only heard about AC being active in Ecuador recently. The organization then decided to go ahead with the accreditation process.

“I worked with them and I can say that they worked very hard. They had great commitment,” Ormaza Z. says.

Dr. Mejia Tapia says the assessment process and survey preparations required several changes in the staff’s daily behavior, in a short amount of time. He and his team rallied their colleagues by focusing them on the benefits that stepped-up quality improvement efforts would have on health and care.

“We made people understand that we weren’t just working for an accreditation title. We were working for the standardization and maintenance of the quality of our processes, and the safety of our services for the benefit of our internal and external clients,” Dr. Mejia Tapia says.

He adds that Hospital Babahoyo had some processes in place to ensure the quality of its services, but it lacked documented and standardized processes. “The accreditation process helped us make those corrections,” he says.

Dr. Mejia Tapia says the process helped to strengthen a continuous culture of improvement focused on patient safety and care quality – one of many learnings that emerged from the accreditation process.

“The accreditation process brings attention to not only an institution’s technical issues, but also to their capacity to be respectful of human dignity,” he says. He adds that as a result of AC’s survey, more focus was placed on strengthening communication with patients and families, and monitoring patient feedback.

Dr. Mejia Tapia says Hospital General Babahoyo looked to be accredited by AC as the Canadian Health System is a North American leader in care, experiencing higher life expectancy, better infection control, and high client satisfaction.

He notes that having an accreditation designation based on Canadian health care standards is a differentiating factor and gives public organizations such as Hospital Babahoyo a leg up. “Having a Canadian-based international accreditation is an important advantage and a differentiating factor that strengthens the quality and safety of health services,” he says.

Dr. Mejia Tapia adds that Hospital General Babahoyo will continue its quality improvement efforts as it hopes to eventually be accredited at the Diamond level, as the top level of AC’s international accreditation program is known.