With the growth of overseas healthcare facilities marketing themselves as a suitable alternative for the North American patient, the inevitable question is “how safe are they?” and “will I receive the same quality of care I would receive in an American hospital?”
A practical solution to this is for the healthcare facility to obtain an internationally recognized accreditation. For many American health providers or funders considering sending patients abroad it seems they are not looking past the Joint Commission International (JCI) accreditation. JCI is the international subsidiary of JACHO, the USA focused Joint Accreditation Commission for HealthCare Organisations.
However selecting just JCI accredited overseas hospitals is shortsighted as in doing so the USA based funder is in essence ruling out many other first world country based hospital providers.
The real question is whether the accreditation system (be it JCI or something else) used by a particular overseas hospital is recognized and indeed accredited by the International Society of Quality Healthcare (ISQua).
While JCI is an accreditation organization that fulfills ISQua requirements and hence is a member so indeed are a number of other countries healthcare accreditation agencies including Quality Health New Zealand, Australian Council on Health Care Standards, Canadian Council on Health Services Accreditation and six other countries accreditation agencies. (Figure 1)
ISQua is in effect the independent international umbrella healthcare accreditation organization under which sits Joint Commission International, Quality Health New Zealand and several other countries’ agencies. Hence all JCI accredited hospitals like that of Quality Health New Zealand accredited hospitals are under the same umbrella of ISQua.
For an ISQua accredited country hospital to be jointly accredited by JCI as well makes no sense as doing so in effect duplicates that hospitals current accreditation processes, (processes that have been approved by an agency that has to conform to the same standards as JCI) with no increase in quality outcome.
While therefore it is eminently sensible to check as to the accreditation standards of a particular overseas hospital, it is also sensible to consider hospitals accredited by other ISQua member accreditations agencies not just JCI.
Dr Edward Watson is the CEO of Medtral New Zealand (www.medtral.com) .Medtral New Zealand provides access for overseas patients to private surgical and fertility treatment in New Zealand
International Society for Quality in Healthcare ISQua
Australian Council on Health Care Standards Quality Improvement Council, Australia Quality Health New Zealand Canadian Council on Health Services Accreditation Irish Health Services Accreditation Board (now HIQA) Council for Health Services Accreditation of Southern Africa Taiwan Joint Commission on Hospital Accreditation CHKS-HAQU Health Care Accreditation Unit, UK Japan Council on Quality in Health Care Egyptian Health Care Accreditation Organization Joint Commission International Accreditation