COVID-19 did not delay the accreditation efforts of the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA), even though the pandemic came during the second year of a four-year accreditation cycle.
“Accreditation is critical work that is helping strengthen quality and safety for the people we serve,” says Scott Livingstone, CEO of the SHA. “That is why we have continued our accreditation work during the pandemic by pivoting to a virtual accreditation survey to keep everyone safe and to maintain our dedication to being accreditation-ready at all times.”
As part of the SHA’s commitment to quality and safety, the SHA participates in Accreditation Canada’s independent, third-party assessment of care and services. This accreditation ensures that the SHA is providing a safe environment for employees and that it is delivering safe, quality care for patients, clients, and residents.
This assessment is known as an accreditation “survey.” The most recent survey took place from December 6 to 11, 2020.
Carrying out a virtual accreditation survey was no small feat: Five Accreditation Canada surveyors, including a patient surveyor, spent over five days visiting 23 different sites virtually. This group assessed six different standards, interviewed 20 patients, and conducted 51 group discussions.
The SHA teams displayed the Saskatchewan spirit of innovation, as the SHA was the only organization to so comprehensively shift the accreditation survey to a virtual format. Teams used cameras and other technology to bring the surveyors to facilities safely.
“This survey highlights how the SHA is shifting to becoming accreditation-ready every day – the teams prepared in a very short amount of time and can now also see how accreditation standards and processes fit into their daily work of providing safe and high-quality care for patients," says Stacey Smith Coleman, Director of Accreditation with the SHA.
“The SHA demonstrated its commitment to all SHA health-care providers and every resident of Saskatchewan when it continued its accreditation efforts,” says Brenda Andreas, a Patient Family Partner with the SHA.
Andreas is also an Accreditation Canada-recognized Patient Surveyor.
“Healthcare providers are living through tough, traumatic times during this pandemic, and COVID-19 has not stopped the regular need for health care from people across our province. Despite the pandemic’s challenges, the SHA strengthened its resolve. Being accreditation-ready at all times gives providers the tools they need and patients the care they deserve.”
Prior to the pandemic, the SHA was gearing up for the second component of its four-year accreditation model. Originally, the focus was planned for:
After careful planning and consultation, Mental Health and Addictions (Inpatient), Community Paramedicine, and Telehealth went forward with the survey during the second year.
“Everyone in the SHA should be very proud that we chose to continue our accreditation work in the middle of a pandemic,” says Livingstone. “The SHA’s approach to accreditation involves everyone from the Board of Directors to frontline staff, as well as patients and families.”
“I want to thank the surveyors from Accreditation Canada, the SHA teams, and our patient family advisors who are committed to working together to successfully complete this virtual accreditation survey.”
To ensure a complete accreditation survey, follow-up in-person work with Accreditation Canada is tentatively scheduled for June pending the status of provincial pandemic restrictions.
Accreditation Canada inspires people to make positive change that improves the quality of health and social services in Canada. The organization delivers a wide range of high-impact assessment programs for health organizations such as the SHA.
Saskatchewan’s Telehealth Service was one that moved ahead with the accreditation survey this year.