What is the NABH Accreditation Process for Hospitals in India?

The Government of India established the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers (NABH) in 2005 to improve the country’s healthcare quality. The Quality Council of India (QCI) governs this autonomous agency, which is in charge of developing policies and maintaining QCI standards. Some international healthcare standards, such as the Japan Council for Quality in Health Care, the Australian Council on Healthcare Criteria, and the United States National Committee for Quality Assurance, are identical to the NABH accreditation standards.

To minimize medical errors, NABH requires hospitals to follow standardized SOPs (standard operating procedures). Additionally, SOPs enhance healthcare quality, efficiency, waste reduction, and employee happiness. NABH accreditation is only granted to hospitals that follow the SOPs. Let’s take a closer look at NABH and the stages involved in the NABH accreditation process for hospitals.

To get NABH certification, hospital administration must establish an action plan and choose an individual or organization to handle all accreditation-related activities. The steps for qualifying for NABH accreditation are as follows:

  1. The hospital seeking accreditation must hire a quality assurance officer who is familiar with the existing system. This assists the officer in identifying flaws and areas for improvement.
  2. The officer must have a comprehensive understanding of the NABH accreditation process. 
  3. The selected officer must confirm the implementation of higher standards in the hospital. 
  4. Before completing the application form, the hospital shall conduct a self-assessment against NABH criteria.

As a result, some of the processes that enable NABH accreditation for hospitals, which is a seven-step processes. The steps for obtaining NABH accreditation in India are as follows:

Step 1: Application Submission to NABH: After following the NABH standards for at least three months, the hospital should apply to NABH using the required application form. The following information is contained in the application form:

  1. Self-declaration of terms and conditions described by NABH
  2. Self-assessment, as suggested by NABH 
  3. Hospital manual/ quality standards as per prescribed NABH standards 
  4. Relevant documents to be uploaded with the application

Step 2: Review of Application by NABH: Following the submission of the NABH application, the NABH officers will review the forms as well as any documents. Before issuing accreditation, the department will ask the applicant to explain or correct any anomalies it finds in the form. If the application is appropriate and complete, the department will issue a letter of acknowledgment and a special reference number to the hospital.

Step 3: Pre-Assessment: The NABH department assigns a principal inspector or assessment team to pre-assess the hospital within three months of fee deposition as the next step in the accreditation process. Pre-assessments can be completed on-site, remotely, on a desktop, or in a hybrid format. The following are the same’s objectives: –

  1. Evaluate the hospital’s preparation for the final assessment
  2. Determine the number of assessors required and the duration of the accreditation process
  3. Review the authenticity of NABH documents / SOPs of the hospital
  4. Explain the practice to be adopted for the evaluation of the hospital

Step 4: Final Assessment: Within six months of the fee being deposited, the final assessment is completed in an onsite, remote, desktop, or hybrid format. It contains a thorough analysis of all the duties and products the hospital provides. To address any discrepancies or questions identified during the pre-assessment, the prospective hospital must take the appropriate corrective action.

Step 5: Review of Assessment Report: The chief assessor examines the assessment report after the last assessment. The following grading on a scale of 0, 5, and 10 is used to evaluate the assessment report and acknowledged some Conditions for qualifying for NABH accreditation:

  1. Compliance with the requirement
  2. Partial compliance with the requirement
  3. Non-compliance with the requirement

To be eligible for NABH accreditation, an organization must completely comply with all applicable regulatory and legal criteria. No individual standard may include more than one zero, and the average score for each standard cannot be less than five. The ultimate average score for all criteria must be greater than seven and the average score for each chapter cannot be less than seven.

Step 6: Approval and Issue of certification by Accreditation Committee: Within three months after the final evaluation, the accreditation committee approves and issues a certification of accreditation to the hospital if it meets the requirements for NABH accreditation. Also, the NABH accreditation certificate is effective for three years.

Step 7: Reassessment and Surveillance: Upon the announcement of the certificate of accreditation, the NABH team will perform annual surveillance and reassessments for the following three years. At least six months before the NABH accreditation’s validity expires, the hospital must apply for renewal of accreditation.