A look at how the United Kingdom Accreditation Service is helping to support innovation in the NHS
Accreditation is gaining recognition as a tool to support delivery in the provision of quality healthcare services. 2009 saw the launch of the Imaging Services Accreditation Scheme (ISAS), a patient-focused imaging service accreditation scheme that is assessed against a quality-enhancing standard based on clinical and patient-reported performance measures. The ISAS standard comprehensively describes a competent imaging service, and supports continual quality improvement by addressing patient experience, clinical outcomes, patient and staff safety and efficient use of resources.
An ISAS accreditation will demonstrate that competent health professionals deliver quality care to patients in a safe environment. Accreditation of imaging services will give confidence to patients, funders, purchasers, staff and management about the competence, quality and safety of those services. The concept of the scheme is closely aligned to the current NHS quality agenda set out in the Next Stage Review 2008.
The (UKAS), the UK?s government- appointed national accreditation body, has been licensed by The College of Radiographers (RCR) and The Royal College of Radiologists (CoR) to manage and deliver ISAS. ISAS is available to both public and private organisations operating in the UK. Assessment for accreditation is against the ISAS standard, using a specially developed process. The ISAS standard forms part of the ISAS framework that has been developed by the RCR and CoR. Uniquely, the development of ISAS is different to other accreditation schemes that are driven by government. In this case, clinical professions worked with patients and other health professional organisations, governments and regulators from all four UK countries.
A key strength of ISAS is that the assessments and accreditations are managed by UKAS. This ensures that the delivery of ISAS is impartial, as UKAS is an independent body that operates in the public interest. Accreditation is now emerging as a mainstream activity for ensuring the quality of support in healthcare. The ISAS scheme, in particular, is at the vanguard of development here.
Other areas in healthcare have also recognised the benefits that UKAS accreditation can bring to support the recommendations set out in the Next Stage Review. These include an accredited certification scheme to verify the authenticity of health and social-care information, a scheme to accredit point-of-care testing facilities, and the accreditation of clinical pathology laboratories.
In this way, UKAS accreditation is supporting innovation in the NHS as it provides the confidence to use third-party verification to measure quality performance and to support policy interventions. With this confidence, commissioners across the NHS can look for novel ways of legislating or even replacing legislation with marketled solutions, for example, using accredited evaluations to replace public-sector inspections and interventions.
Added the 13 April 2010 in category Innovation UK Vol6-1