INDIAN CONFEDERATION FOR HEALTHCARE ACCREDITATION (ICHA)
COMPREHENSIVE HEALTHCARE ACCREDITATION SYSTEM
Modern technology has dramatically changed our lives. Healthcare has been at the forefront of this change; it affects us all. We are able to do a lot more things a lot better. The capacity to diagnose, treat and intervene/operate is amazing today! These advances have helped increase human life span, reduce infant mortality and so on.
This bright scenario, however, has also unmasked the darker side of Healthcare:
- It requires a variety of experts.
- Gadgets have reduced person-to-person interaction.
- The aged population is increasing.
- All these have resulted in new disease patterns and problems.
- Healthcare has become very expensive, and will get more expensive without intervention to control costs!!
Are you aware that in the USA today, treatment errors have become a leading cause of death and disability? One in ten hospital admissions experience adverse incidents in the UK.
It is surmised that the situation is much worse in developing countries. The current healthcare scenario in India can be summarized as follows:
- All pervasive felt need for improving healthcare delivery in all its dimensions.
- General lack of awareness about the world view of accreditation, with perceptions bordering on the negative.
- India with its vast reservoir of expert resources has a unique advantage.
- There are areas of excellence, which need sharing and evolving a consensus.
- Mistrust is rife.
We need solutions urgently!
What can be done? How can it be done? We are at a crossroads!
An interesting worldwide study showed that 85% of errors occur due to ignorance or lack of awareness, while less than 2% errors only are wilful and intentional!
You will agree, there is an urgent need to appreciate that:
- Healthcare is everybody's concern
- It is also everybody's responsibility
- To improve it, we all need to work together
We also need to create awareness and build trust.
What is ICHA?
The Indian Confederation for Healthcare Accreditation (ICHA) is a National non-profit organisation incorporated as a Company U/S 25 of the Companies act registered in NCT of Delhi. It is an association of National associations/Institutions of all stakeholders in healthcare.
The basic objective of ICHA is to create a mechanism to establish validated excellence in Healthcare through a comprehensive Healthcare Accreditation System; to develop a continuously improving, self-regulating, patient centred healthcare delivery system for the benefit of all concerned with healthcare i.e. 'providers', 'receivers and users', 'payers and funders' and 'educators and regulators'. ICHA is an autonomous organisation that, through collaborative participation of all concerned, teamwork, continuous learning and benchmarking shall endeavour to achieve India's potential for leadership and improving the quality of life by improving the quality of our healthcare.
What is ICHA trying to do?
The ICHA Initiative: We want to make sure that the right professionals do the right things at the right time, the right place and at the right cost. This will result in prevention of errors and in reducing costs of care for all. It will enable all people to reap the benefits of modern medicine.
Why is ICHA Needed?
Quality is achieved by improvement every day. It comes from within when we want it and work for it. It CANNOT be forced! We all know how awareness, persuasion and guidance can change lives. This is something we do with our children all the time!
Is Healthcare not the Government's Responsibility?
Healthcare is the government's responsibility – but it is also our responsibility as well. The government can facilitate by providing resources, having appropriate infrastructure, providing corrective mechanisms and so on. By virtue of its power and authority, it can promulgate acts and regulations. However, acts and regulations can only ensure the minimum (if at all, and only when the acts and regulations are wisely written and implemented properly). But is the minimum sufficient? The simple answer is – we all want more than the minimum; we all want Higher Quality Care. And we all deserve it too.
Thus, the government's role is both crucial and "necessary". But it is neither "sufficient" nor "enough". Are you aware that in India 80% of healthcare expenditure is met by non-government sources? Insurance is only 1% of the private expenditure.
How will the ICHA achieve this goal?
Accreditation – Solutions for Healthcare Sector
As you are aware, the world over professionally driven, autonomous healthcare accreditation has been the most successful mechanism to resolve the dilemmas / complexities in healthcare delivery today as well as achieve continuous improvement.
Accreditation derives its strength from Credibility,
which comes from Content and that depends on
Competence for which Capability is necessary;
available in plenty and our greatest strength.
If India is to become a preferred healthcare destination, as pronounced in the National Health Policy, an internationally acceptable and highly credible accreditation system is a necessary prerequisite. Various studies and reports have, in the past, emphasized the necessity of such a system. Even healthcare insurance cannot gain momentum without accreditation. The creation of consensus based guidelines and benchmarks addresses a long-felt need in the Indian healthcare industry, which currently has widely varying practices. For India to take its place in the world as a developed nation, it is imperative to improve healthcare in all its aspects to give our citizens a quality of life comparable to the best. Healthcare delivery needs to be also accessible and affordable. However, help has also to be available through guidelines to make it a non-threatening, non-punitive process of education, mutual sharing and learning.
Participation by all is a necessary prerequisite to achieve a continuously improving healthcare delivery system of world-class standards.
The Contribution of healthcare to the economy, development and growth of any country is well known; the inverse is true as well. To be able to stand up to the world as well as achieve lasting benefits to our people it is necessary to continuously improve the Quality of the delivery, as is true in all spheres. The transformational ability of technology and quality is undisputed.
India's vast potential is well recognised today due to the largest pool of capable and expert human resources. The National Health Policy 2002 has thus proclaimed the agenda of making India the Health destination of the world. The economic contribution this 'industry' can provide towards making India a developed nation (Vision 2020) is more than real. However, despite our strengths there is a widely felt and urgent need for substantial and continuous improvement in this area, before our position of leadership can be achieved. This excellence then needs to be validated and recognised through highly credible mechanisms on an ongoing basis.
The ICHA Concept: To achieve the above goals and in view of worldwide experience, it was envisaged that:
- A widely held, consensus based organization be developed with synergy of all concerned with healthcare. A non-political organization driven by professionals with actual healthcare providers at the core to take the lead.
- This organization to develop guidelines in all areas as a team. The guidelines serve as a framework for learning and implementation by healthcare delivery systems / institutions / establishments. This would result in a standardization of the majority of processes as well as uniformity of service delivery quality. Resultant learning and implementation of processes is continually self-assessed and finally validated periodically through peer review.
- The outcome of validation is recognition and reward of excellence. This excellence is continually upgraded to match / exceed / set parameters for the world.
- Credibility and high sanctity would best be ensured through leadership by associations and the work be done by individual experts, who shall not be voting members but affiliates to circumvent individual based politics and power / control paradigm.
- The organization to be an autonomous not for profit but ultimately self-sustaining institution that encourages volunteering but recognizes and rewards the contributors. The initial funds to come from various sources.
The "True" Form of Healthcare Accreditation
Comprehensive accreditation addresses all the dimensions of healthcare such as appropriateness, availability, continuity, effectiveness, responsive & caring delivery, safety & risk minimization and timeliness. The Indian healthcare industry has reached a stage where such a system of accreditation is vital. The creation of benchmarks and validation through peer-review by professionals is far more credible than externally imposed standards. A credible and transparent accreditation process is of assistance to all stakeholders that is, providers, receivers and users, payers and funders, and educators and regulators.
What has been Achieved So Far?
Appreciating the current realities and situation, coupled with the learnt experience from around the world of the development and establishment of Healthcare Accreditation Systems, a participative approach was chosen. It was decided through a series of progressive interactive meetings beginning August 2002, that an autonomous body of all stakeholders (primarily providers, users, payers, educators and regulators) be formed with Healthcare providers to form the core of the body. Major Healthcare provider professional associations were convinced and have come together to form ICHA. In view of the purpose of the body and varied nature of stakeholders it was thought best to adopt the legal structure of a Section 25 Company (a special purpose not-for-profit organisation that enjoys the advantages and benefits of a "Charitable" organisation). In view of the logistic advantages, it was appreciated that the 'Registered Office' of the company be located in Delhi.
While the National Associations of Physicians (API), Surgeons (ASI), Anaesthetists (ISA), Ophthalmologists (AIOS), Pharmacists (IPA), Hospital administrators (AHA), Hospital Pharmacists (IHPA) were the initial members of ICHA; as of now all the major associations of all stakeholders have either joined in, or decided to join. Still others have been sensitized and are likely to join soon. The Enrolment register may be seen for details. While the national associations are the voting members, it is appreciated that work has to be done by individuals for which a database is being formed. Individual organisations are also being enrolled as affiliates. This structure not only ensures credibility but also encourages apolitical contributions by all stakeholders.
THE ENVISAGED PLAN OF ACTION
Phase I – Strengthen the organisation: by enrolling all stakeholders, awareness campaigns, fund raising and building databases.
Phase II – Content building: Training, guidelines and standards development.
Phase III – Accreditation implementation.
The incorporation of ICHA is the outcome of two years of consultations and interactive talks between various groups of professionals and stakeholders in the healthcare industry. ICHA shall develop mechanisms to improve all aspects of Indian healthcare through a continuous process of peer-review and self-regulation. This will be done by developing guidelines and benchmarks for improving the quality of healthcare delivered by hospitals, integrated service delivery networks and other such systems, including professional activities. The formation of ICHA marks the beginning of a journey to excellence and the cherished goal of making India a developed nation.
Healthcare affects us all and all are requested to join appropriately as affiliates or through their associations as members. More details of ICHA are available through the links on the left hand side of the top of this page.. You are requested to peruse these details through the links including the Enrolment register (which is periodically updated) for Associations and affiliates. Application forms for Individual affiliateship, Organisational affiliateship, Affiliateship for regional / speciality chapters Associations, and Voting membership for national associations / institutions can be downloaded in a printer friendly format.
You will appreciate from the details, leadership / ownership role and contribution of your association / institution as well as your individual participation in the success of ICHA - fulfilling a much felt need. We request you to take the necessary steps. Please forward this link to all your contacts – individuals, organisations, and associations / institutions for greater awareness.
Can I Participate?
YES, you Must! How? You can join ICHA as an individual affiliate, or as a part of your organization.
You can also join as a "Friend" of ICHA.
- Fill out and send us the Health Care Response Sheet.
- Contribute to the 'War Chest' required to allow the ICHA to fund development projects. Your tax-deductible contribution* (Minimum of 500, no maximum limit) will help this initiative grow and bear fruit.
- Spread the word. Talk to your friends, your parents, your co-workers and other interested people. Write to your local MP and/or the Ministry of Health and tell them that you support the ICHA and its goals and that you want the MP/Minister to support the ICHA too.
Application and Registration forms, click here.