» 6 years on for First Accredited Independent Tele-Reporting Company
06 February, 2017
Established in 2005, 4ways Healthcare is one of the UK’s leading private providers of remote radiology reporting services in the UK. Their varied range of both routine and out of hours specialist radiology services include nuclear medicine, breast MRI, mammography, cardiology and clinical audit. They work with many NHS organisations within primary and secondary care, as well as private diagnostic imaging providers, delivering more than 500,000 reports a year.
In 2011, 4ways became the first independent tele-reporting company to achieve accreditation to imaging services standard. Jointly owned by The Royal College of Radiologists and the College of Radiographers, the standard is the only nationally recognised scheme for diagnostic imaging services in the UK. As a patient-focused assessment and accreditation programme, the standard has been designed to help diagnostic imaging providers ensure that their patients receive services that are competent, high quality and delivered in a safe environment.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) recognises the potential value of clinical service accreditation and peer-review schemes as information sources to support its inspections. Consequently, the standard is now a CQC approved scheme. Whilst UKAS accreditation is voluntary, it can give those operating in a competitive marketplace an higher advantage. Ajay Chadha, CEO of 4ways said “Our UKAS accreditation certifies our ability to provide an excellent service to both patients and our customers. We also use them as a way to positively promote the business and its value amongst UK healthcare providers.”
Being the first tele-radiology company to achieve imaging services accreditation is one of the company’s unique selling points and acts as a differentiator in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Ajay said: “The accreditations that 4ways hold is one of many reasons healthcare providers choose to use 4ways to provide radiology reporting. It gives our clients assurance and security. It demonstrates that we have been recognised for our quality assurance and clinical governance. For healthcare providers it is highly important that the patient receives quality care throughout the entire process.”
The UKAS assessment process is rigorous and thorough, in order to provide the necessary assurance to patients. Rather than being a burden on the company, 4ways found that going through the accreditation process has been useful and beneficial, as Ajay explains. “Preparation for the imaging services assessment helped our organisation step back and look at our processes objectively, subjecting them to increased scrutiny. We feel that positive improvements have been made to our internal processes and service provision by taking part in the assessment and aligning our processes and policies with the standard.”
Unlike a one-off “Congratulations, you’ve passed” test, UKAS accreditation is a programme of continuous assessment, operating around a four year cycle of regular assessment visits. This ensures that high quality standards are maintained, whilst processes are updated and refined. Ajay said: “Completing annual re-validation of UKAS accreditation ensures that we are consistently achieving standards set by industry regulators year on year. Feedback received indicates where our strengths and weaknesses are so that we can continue the standards we set ourselves and make improvements going forward.”
The long-term thinking this approach encourages can be instrumental in influencing both the day to day operations and the working culture within an organisation, as Ajay explains: “We have an established clinical governance framework with documented policies, processes and procedures that are adhered to and improved upon throughout the organisation. These methodologies and the quality that underpin them, have become ingrained in the company and are the foundation of our service provision.”
Successfully reaching the imaging services standard acted as a springboard within the company, encouraging it to apply for other quality recognition schemes, including CQC registration. In addition to this imaging services accreditation which is CQC recognised, 4ways also holds ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 27001:2013 accreditation for quality and information security management. All 4ways staff also undergo annual information governance assessment and training programme to obtain IGSoC (Information Governance Statement of Compliance) certification.
Concluding, Ajay said. “We have always shown a commitment to achieving the highest quality of radiology reporting; our clinical governance and rigorous recruitment process are central to this commitment. Reaching the imaging services, ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 standards is a testament of our organisation’s quality assurance and clinical governance. The accreditation and certification quality standards require on-going and dedicated commitment to ensure the highest standards are continually achieved. It assures our clients that 4ways provides a quality radiology reporting service.”