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Case Study – 4ways: First to achieve new QSI 2021 standard

In recent years the UK has seen a rapid growth in the use of telediagnostics within the healthcare sector. This involves the use of remote imaging technology to allow clinicians to diagnose patients in different locations.

A track record in quality

Always a pioneer within the sector, 4ways were one of the first cohorts of organisations to achieve UKAS accreditation against the ISAS standard (ISAS being the former name for imaging accreditation) when it launched in 2009. In 2019 the ISAS standard was replaced by the Quality Standard for Imaging (QSI), which is now relied upon to inform the accreditation process for imaging services in the UK. 4ways’ scope of accreditation covers teleradiology for the reporting and auditing of all radiology modalities.

When 4ways initially applied for accreditation in 2010, teleradiology was in its infancy in the UK, therefore gaining the credibility that the badge of UKAS accreditation was a key factor in gaining acceptance from the NHS of these types of services at the time. Today that landscape has changed and teleradiology is now a very much accepted and welcomed part of the NHS, and for 4ways the maintenance of their accreditation to the QSI standard demonstrates their ongoing commitment to providing the highest standard of services, quality and governance.

In October 2021, the Royal College of Radiologists and the College of Radiographers published QSI 2021 and all currently accredited services were required to transition to the new version of the standard. 4ways are the first organisation to have achieved this transition.

When asked about their experience with UKAS over the course of their accreditation, Head of Clinical Governance & Client Services, Alison MacKay explains that over the years she has interacted with many Assessment Managers and Technical Assessors:

“I have always found them to be friendly, professional, supportive, and knowledgeable and we have always worked well in partnership with them to understand the requirements of the standard, and how these are best exemplified and evidenced. With each assessment we have, we continue our journey of ongoing improvement in delivering the highest levels of quality and service to an ever-changing NHS/Healthcare environment.”

Growing the business alongside evolving standards

As an early adopter of the original standard, the accreditation and assessment process has influenced and enhanced the policies, processes and governance of the organisation as it has continued to grow. Alison remarked that “the accreditation and assessment cycle has been one of the important pillars on which the business has evolved and developed.”

When asked about the benefits of achieving and maintaining accreditation to the QSI standard, Alison has noticed many. “Customer confidence is a definite benefit that has grown continuously by 4ways achieving this accreditation and maintaining it for so many years. It has become a recognised standard in tender bids and for other external assessments by regulatory bodies. Implementing processes, policies, workflows and monitoring as required by the standard creates ongoing efficiencies, continual improvement and has helped us deliver patient safety in all that we do.”

Speaking of 4ways’ achievement, Senior Assessment Manager at UKAS, Ann Pinder commented: “4ways Healthcare has demonstrated a commitment to providing high quality and safe imaging services by being the first service to transition to the 2021 version of the Quality Standard for Imaging (QSI). Their dedication to meeting the standards of care is commendable and demonstrates a drive to providing the best possible patient care.”

Finally, commenting on their achievement as the first service to transition to the 2021 version of the standard, Alison added:

“4ways is immensely proud of our association with UKAS and accreditation to the QSI standard. Having evolved with it since its inception, the standard has become ingrained in our whole ethos to our clients and their patients. We are proud to continue to be leaders in quality, and also of our contribution to the best patient care in the UK.”

About 4ways

4ways Healthcare has been providing teleradiology services since 2005 and has a 16-year track-record of innovative solutions with the aim of improving patient outcomes. Now serving over 80 NHS trusts and a growing number of private providers, 4ways implements a blend of highly innovative technology, workflows, experienced teams, and the clinical expertise of over 350 UK based GMC registered Consultant Radiologists.

About QSI

QSI 2021 is the accreditation standard used by UKAS to assess imaging services across the UK. If you would like further information on how accreditation can benefit your organisation, please email [email protected].