NABH accreditation has become a buzz word in the social circles of hospital administrators and quality professionals but hardly anyone pays attention to the actual NABH standards. Having visited some hospitals, old and new, which are planning for the accreditation, one of the clearly observable deficiencies I came across was the infrastructure. Old hospitals were built in the times when building laws were not as stringent as they are now. One can empathize with their administrators when they say that their hospitals can’t stand NABH’s scrutiny. But what I am shocked at is the lack of attention even new hospitals have paid to the building guidelines.
There is a larger consensus that slowly, but steadily, all healthcare facilities in our country will have to comply with some or the other quality accreditation systems, be it NABH or anything else. Today NABH is voluntary in nature. But who knows, tomorrow government might require certain category of hospitals to mandatorily go for accreditation. While old hospitals may be able to give some reasonable excuses, new hospitals will have no excuse to give. And imagine if medical insurance companies start demanding that all empanelled hospitals should have NABH accreditation. Can the new hospitals and those to come in future miss this opportunity? I am sure revenue and profitability are on top of their minds and they can’t miss the cashless pie of the business.
Therefore, my humble request to such hospitals would be that when they conceptualize their hospitals and sit with their architects and engineers, they should first of all put the basic NABH-related structural compliances in place. The fancy-stuff can wait. Yes, it has its business benefits, but it can’t match the benefits that the accreditation can bring.
Go through the latest standards (whichever are applicable to your facility) of NABH and decide for yourself how you are going to design your hospital around these requirements. I am sure there are sufficient intelligent engineering and architectural consulting firms who can help you meet both quality and aesthetic requirements in the same structure. Make NABH standards as the foundation of your building design.
For the hospitals which were built recently or even as long as 5-10 years back should consider giving NABH standards a try. If you find your hospital is non-compliant to some of the requirements of NABH, it’s still a very cost-effective proposition to make suitable changes (if possible) in your buildings. It is any day easy to change processes and manpower behaviour to suit the accreditation requirements, but building of an operational hospital is one thing which cannot be modified easily.