After years of planning and preparations the Dr. D. Orlando Smith Hospital is months away from the first round of accreditation and it was announced the process is expected to last three years and upon completion elevate the standards of healthcare in the BVI.

In an interview on the talk show Honestly Speaking With Claude Skelton-Cline Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the BVI Health Services Authority (BVIHSA) Dr. Ronald Georges and Chief Operations Officer (COO) Pat Malone-Smith disclosed that February 2020 would be the first in a series of assessments.

The BVIHSA CEO emphasized that getting the hospital fully accredited is a journey that consists of various steps and fulfilled requirements: “It is a three-year process it is not a matter of like boom, you are done. It is a developmental process because you can’t just go from zero to hero in two seconds flat,” Dr. Georges announced.

The CEO noted: “It’s a three-year process and the vision is that at the end of that process to meet the… accrediting standards and to meet the ISO standards.”

Dr. Georges further explained that the accreditation journey is not only about the bragging rights that the commendation would bring but what the new status would say about the evolution of health care in the Territory: Yes, it is something you want to stick on the door, but the point about it is to build an organization that is constantly looking at itself and trying to be accountable and improving. Trying to be accountable to its stakeholders,” he said.

“it is actually the foundation being laid right now… The next levels go up higher and higher. One of the critical things we have to do is to establish a quality department. That means you need a quality director you need safety officers, you need somebody looking at risks… you need to put all of those things in place,” Georges added.

Malone-Smith mentioned that the first round of the three-year process will take place February 3-7. This part of the process is expected to take the form of a survey. The Chief Operations Officer explained: “It would be the first survey in the hospital’s journey to accreditation.”

“On February 3, DNV will come in and they will do the initial survey which she said will result in a certificate that is a form of accreditation…We will be accredited but to get to a certain level of expertise and more standards they give us two more years to do what is called ISO which is International Standard Of care so they would come in every year and check us to say you started here, next year when I come back you need to be here,” Malone-Smith further explained.

For the first assessment it was said that the assessors will be looking at the environment of care, if the equipment are checked on a regular basis, whether the staff has the appropriate documentation for the work that they do, the policy and procedures of the organization, are they following best practices.

In further empathizing the significance of the assessment Malone-Smith said: “There is no regulatory body for health in the country…You need somebody from outside to come and tell you.” That’s healthy!

The accreditation of the hospital is expected to also make way for the Territory’s interest in medical tourism. The correlation between the two undertakings was made in the ‘Recovery to Development Plan of the Virgin Islands’ (RDPVI) that was tabled in the House of Assembly in 2018.

According to the ‘Recovery to Development Plan’ certain legislative/legal, infrastructural, and service related changes ought to be in place in order to fully realize medical tourism opportunities. It was stated that these changes include the completion of the international accreditation of the Dr. D. Orlando Smith Hospital which, the report said, would ensure the delivery of optimal health care outcomes while improving confidence in the healthcare system, as well as users and other stakeholders satisfaction.