HIQA was set up to enable Health Service Organisations throughout Ireland to evaluate the care and quality of services they provide to their patients/clients by reference to a set of standards validated internationally by the International Society for Quality in Healthcare through their ALPHA Programme. It is to be hoped and expected that the systematic approach of the Irish Health Services Accreditation Board, utilising standards of excellence, detailed self assessment and independent peer review, in the provision of Accreditation will enhance the level of quality countrywide to the ultimate benefit of overall patient/client care.
HIQA contracted Integrated Business Software and Solutions to develop an accreditation system that would enable applicant organisations and surveyors to access and complete self-assessments over the Web. HIQA saw this as an important step to dismantling the barrier that was the administrative burden previously associated with organisations undergoing the accreditation process.
Integrated Business Software and Solutions designed and developed a system using Oracle RDBMS as the application database and utilising Java to develop the front end screens for the users. With the addition of Crystal to provide the reporting capability and Integrated Business Software and Solutions’ own Web Portal framework providing the Web access and necessary security features, the system has now been successfully rolled out to the first organisations. The project from start to ‘go-live’ took approximately six months to complete from project initiation with Waterford Regional Hospital the first Health organisation to roll out the system.
The benefits to IHSAB’s end users, the health service organisations, are dramatically reduced turnaround times in reporting of the status of their accreditation assessments. Organisations no longer have to send information to IHSAB. Instead they complete their self-assessments via the secure access point on the IHSAB website. IHSAB surveyors can review the information online without waiting for written copies and visit the organisations very quickly to carry out the independent assessments. Surveyors can then record their assessments on either a laptop or a tablet PC and upload back to IHSAB’s database. Results are therefore available to the health organisations to view online. A key benefit to the health service organisations is that with quicker results of the accreditation process available to them, they can concentrate on the areas that they feel require attention for further improvement in terms of care and quality of the health services they provide to their patients/clients. The ultimate end user, the public, benefit from an improved health service. Financially, IHSAB are already realising significant cost savings from the implementation of the system. IHSAB surveyors and administration staff have seen a dramatic reduction in the number of hours involved in the accreditation process due to the move from a manual paper based system to the automated web system. Also, due to the fact that a large number of the surveyors employed are based internationally the abolition of the need for a paper based system has significantly reduced costs in both secure postage and turnaround time on reports. Integrated Business Software and Solutions designed, developed and implemented the IHSAB Web Based Accreditation Process Management System on time and within budget.