Materia Medica Malaysiana

July 21, 2007

Stop chasing ISO certification, hospitals told

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:41 am

NST: KUALA LUMPUR: The trend of government hospitals chasing ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) certification has incurred the ire of Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek.
He was upset that the hospitals appeared to be more interested in obtaining the certification than in caring for their patients and had directed them to stop doing so.
“Lately, I’ve received numerous complaints from doctors who were so bogged down with paperwork related to the ISO certification that their main duties of caring for patients were being neglected,” he said after launching Tung Shin Hospital’s traditional medicine building.
To date, 46 per cent of the 134 government hospitals had obtained ISO certification.
He said some hospitals might have ISO certification, but their quality of care was still below par.
He said the certification was more suitable for factories and establishments dealing with administrative and management work.
“ISO is more towards administrative work whereas hospitals are more clinically-based. Hospitals should also give priority to patients’ safety and quality of care,” he said.
He directed hospitals that wanted to set a benchmark for their quality of service to opt for the Joint Commission International (JCI) accreditation, an internationally recognised body dedicated to improving the quality and safety of healthcare services, instead of chasing ISO certification.
No Malaysian hospital has applied for JCI, although it is a norm for neighbouring countries like Singapore and Thailand.
Dr Chua said the hospitals could also obtain accreditation from the Malaysian Society of Quality of Health. Currently, 56 government hospitals are accredited by MSQH.
“If we want Malaysia to build up the health-tourism sector, hospitals must work towards getting JCI accreditation as it is a quality benchmark and will give confidence to foreign patients.”
On another matter, Dr Chua criticised the Australian government for issuing a travel advisory on dengue fever in the Klang Valley.
“They are not well-acquainted with conditions in countries like Malaysia, where dengue is endemic.
“Their warning is not based on facts and knowledge of the situation here.”
He said Singapore was also badly hit by dengue and questioned why no travel advisory warning was issued against the republic.

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