Why need Cohsasa standards for hospital Management in Africa

Vikas / Netra (COHSASA standards hospital software, ERP for hospitals in Zambia, Botswana, South Africa, Ghana, Namibia

The Council for Health Service Accreditation of Southern Africa (COHSASA)

COHSASA standards, having its head office based in Claremont, Cape Town, South Africa, is the only internationally accredited quality improvement and accreditation body for healthcare facilities in the sub-Saharan African region.

The accreditation body has constantly been working towards improving the healthcare standards of the African nations; Zambia, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Namibia, Botswana, and South Africa, to name a few. COHSASA has assisted in enhancing healthcare standards in over 600 healthcare facilities, including public and private bodies.

How do COHSASA standards function

A healthcare facility has to go through the following steps to attain COHSASA standards: – 

Assists the staff: – First, the body helps the team understand the requirements of the standards to attain accreditation, followed by helping them work towards achieving those standards, including quality management programs. 

One-Week Onsite Assessment: – Post the training process, a team from COHSASA conducts a baseline survey of the hospital or clinic for one week by staying in their provinces. Standards are measured on specific criteria defined by the body.  

Assessing the Gaps: The report prepared in the survey helps the hospital assess the physical gaps between achieving compliance. The duration of the program offered by COHSASA would be inversely dependent upon the maintenance quality and document supporting them, i.e., Higher quality means a lesser period and vice versa. 

CoQIS: – Hospital staff is trained to use the web-based quality improvement Information system of COHSASA, CoQIS, to conduct self-evaluation activities for quality improvement. COHSASA can monitor the progress using the same portal. 

Final Assessment: – Finally, an external survey is conducted by panelists who were not present during the assistance process. Based on the results, accreditation is granted to the hospital or clinic. 

Following are the elements used to set healthcare standards in the Healthcare facilities of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa by COHSASA to enhance the quality of the healthcare industry in the region. Vikas 2.0 Hospital Management Software and Netra 2.0 Eye hospital management software installations are present in Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Cameroon, and other countries in the African region.

COHSASA standards – Enhancing Healthcare – KwaZulu Natal

A research study was conducted to see the impact of COHSASA on the KwaZulu-Natal Healthcare system, which included 20 hospitals in the region. Each standard was judged based on different parameters. Eight indicators based on which hospital standards were accredited are: 

Nurse Perceptions: – Since nurses spend the maximum amount of time with the patients, they play a critical role in setting and meeting the standards. Parameters like nurses’ perception of the work environment, the type of relationship shared with the doctors and departments, quality of patient care offered, and teamwork environment were used to set work-staff standards.

Patient Satisfaction: – Often, Patient experience is not given priority in setting standards in developing/underdeveloped nations. However, COHSASA realized the importance of patients’ opinions and dedicated parameters to judge the patient’s experience while setting standards for the healthcare units. 

Patient Medication Education: – One of the challenges faced by African hospitals is the delivery of correct pharmacotherapy and adherence to proper medication by the patients, for which patient medication education becomes imperative. In a region where the rarest of the rarest diseases are common, Africa, the need for appropriate pharma professionals and appropriate medication delivery becomes an essential factor that makes a difference. 

Medical Record completeness, retrieval, and accuracy: – One crucial aspect of delivering quality patient treatment and experience requires the proper collection of all the necessary information and easy retrieval of the data as and when needed. COHSASA has enlisted the following elements as required to be present in the patient data: –

Patient Admission: – Patient identification number, date, time, history, examination findings, diagnosis, treatment plan, medicines ordered, and doctor attending

Patient Discharge: – patient identification number, discharge date, discharge diagnosis, discharge plan, medicines, and the doctor attendingThe ease of retrieval of the data mentioned above and its accuracy are other requirements deemed necessary by COHSASA.

Completeness of peri-operative notes: – This segment includes the preparation, collection, and maintenance of proper documents like patient reports, anesthetic reports (containing information regarding anesthesia), and all other clinical equipment reports used during and pre-operational stage. It is considered an essential aspect of risk mitigation and the clinical communication process. 

However, every hospital might not have operational activities being conducted in their hospitals/clinics; thus, there are different elements prepared as per the type of healthcare body. 

Labeling of ward stock medications: – Wrong labeling of medicines could prove fatal for the inpatients, thus labeling of ward stock medication – name, drug contents, strength, batch number, and expiration date for all containers of drugs sent to the ward are necessary under COHSASA standards.

Not only that, but ward members must also have complete knowledge about which drug is to be administered and when. Proper record maintenance for the same is imperative under COHSASA.

Hospital Sanitation: – Lastly, proper cleanliness and sanitation (water, toilet paper, soap, etc.) are a few elements included under the management effectiveness of COHSASA standards.

Results: – When hospitals were compared on the pre and post-COVASA standard implementation, significant improvements in equipment maintenance, workforce safety, infrastructure, and patient experience were evident.

Conclusion on hospital management

COHSASA standards have been continuously working towards improving the healthcare industry of Africa, laying more emphasis on the measurements of clinical outcomes and increasing attention towards evidence-based standards. It works throughout Africa and helps African nations’ healthcare systems attain global standards by spreading quality protocols and standards followed by these countries among each other, integrating them under one standard body – COHSASA. The accreditation body has been collaborating with local bodies of the provinces to attain the most fruitful outcomes like the one achieved in the region of KwaZulu Natal region of South Africa.

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Vikas ERP
Duleep Sahadevan, Founder and director at Software Associates Information Technologies. Brings over 2 decades of expertise in Healthcare and logistics ERP software solutions. Done research papers on Return On Investment (IIMK 2008), Digital Self service (2014 Utrecht University), Design thinking (Utrecht 2022)