18,000 healthcare centres, 18 can claim to be the best

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Bangalore may be witnessing a major inflow of patients, both from within and outside the country, over the past few years; but only a handful of healthcare facilities here are recognised by the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers (NABH).

Of the nearly 18,000 medical establishments in the city, including small healthcare facilities, only 18 are NABH accredited.

In the State, of nearly 25,000 facilities, only 22 have got accreditation.

NABH Chief Executive Officer K.K. Kalra told The Hindu on the sidelines of the 4th National Health Writers’ and Editors’ convention, organised by HEAL foundation, in Goa recently that although NABH was not mandatory for the hospitals, it is a public recognition of the achievement of accreditation standards by a healthcare organisation.

NABH is a constituent board of Quality Council of India set up under the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industries. It is awarded following an independent external peer assessment of that organisation’s level of performance in patient safety and related standards.

Although some hospitals from Bangalore were the first ones to get accredited after the NABH was formed in 2005, awareness about accreditation here is still low. While Delhi tops the list with 40 rated hospitals, Tamil Nadu is far ahead in South India with 24 accredited hospitals. A total of 240 hospitals across the country have got accreditation, he said.

The Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences (RGUHS) recently took up a sensitisation workshop on NABH accreditation and three colleges affiliated to RGUHS had applied for rating, he said.

Sudarshan Ballal, medical director and chairman of Manipal Health Enterprises, said the accreditation meant more than a branding exercise.

“It means the hospital has been rated by the highest accreditation body in the country, which is equivalent to Joint Commission International accreditation in the U.S. Patients are the biggest beneficiaries as accreditation results in high quality of care and patient safety,” he said.

Dr. Kalra, who also met Health Secretary N. Sivasailam, said the State was now looking at empanelling only hospitals that met at least entry-level NABH accreditation standards for all its health insurance schemes. Tamil Nadu had already adopted this measure, he said.

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