Accreditation – A transformative process, says Island EMS
February 8, 2018
Accreditation was a transformative process, helping Island EMS improve communication and team work across the organization.
Island EMS, a subsidiary of Medavie Health Services, is located in Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.). Operating on a long-term service contract with the Government of P.E.I., it is solely responsible for pre-hospital emergency care and non-emergency transfers in the province.
The organization underwent Accreditation Canada (AC)’s Qmentum accreditation survey on Dec. 4, 2017.
“There’s really no downside to the accreditation process,” says Jeremy Measham, Special Projects Coordinator at Island EMS.
He notes that the organization embraced AC’s accreditation process, understanding that surveyors were there to help guide their quality improvement initiatives.
“There was a real sense that surveyors were there to offer positive, constructive criticism, and to help our organization reach its potential,” Measham says. “There’s no downside to that.”
Measham says the accreditation process “provided the glue” to get the organization working together.
He notes that the accreditation process improved communication between management and front-line staff, such as paramedics.
Measham says that the accreditation process got paramedics engaged, encouraging them to provide input on criteria related to the standards.
“This was invaluable,” Measham said. “It gave us concrete data with which we could assess issues related to our current programs.”
He adds that the accreditation process allowed Island EMS to ensure that it has tools in place moving into the future to keep paramedics engaged and involved in quality improvement initiatives.
“We plan to continue using tools such as WorkLife Pulse throughout the course of our accredited period to keep on top of what’s going on in the field,” he says.
Part of the Qmentum accreditation process, WorkLife Pulse is a questionnaire that aims to measure staff member views on worklife. It provides a valuable perspective on an organization’s performance, and can be used to inform quality and safety practices.
Measham notes that as a result of the accreditation process, information is now being shared more effectively throughout the organization. He says Island EMS has now developed systems with which staff members can be regularly updated on quality and service delivery issues.
“Accreditation has shown us the value of regular communication and sharing information about quality management with staff. We’ll continue that moving forward,” he says.
He also notes that the accreditation process helped the organization to think more strategically and establish more long-term goals.
“Almost everything we do now is done at a different level and in a different way than prior to accreditation,” Measham says.
In terms of the value of accreditation in general, Measham notes that standards help organizations evolve and improve by setting a bar for excellence.
“Being held to standards that apply across the emergency medical services (EMS) industry and the health care industry does nothing but create positive evolution for an organization.”
Measham notes that many EMS providers in Canada are moving to be accredited before competing for any large contracts.
“We’re holding ourselves to the standard of being accredited,” he says. “We recognize that accreditation is very important, and that it will provide safer and better quality care.”
Measham says Island EMS chose to be accredited by AC because it is a Canadian accrediting body.
“Paramedics in Canada are leading the world, so we shouldn’t be looking to another country to provide the standards with which we should work,” he says. “We should be looking to Canadian standards.”
In November, AC’s affiliate Health Standards Organization (HSO) announced that it was accredited by the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) to develop National Standards of Canada. HSO’s world-class standards are the base of AC’s rigorous assessment programs.
Measham notes that organizations who are considering accreditation should get the process started.
“[They] should run, not walk and get the process started because there’s no downside,” he said. “There are only positive results.”
Island EMS began its accreditation process in November 2014 with AC’s introductory Primer Accreditation program. After being accredited through Primer, the organization moved to undertake AC’s more rigorous Qmentum program.
“I can’t say enough about what a positive experience this was for us,” Measham says.
Do you want to become accredited? Get in touch with us today and an accreditation specialist will help guide you along your own quality improvement journey.
You can also read more accreditation success stories on our website.