The PAN Clinic is a private clinic – but ISO 9001:2008 certified anyway
Interview with the Managing Director Eugen Spitkowski
Congratulations on your ISO certification! As a private clinic you are not bound to be certified. Why did you subject your clinic to ISO certification testing anyway?
Eugen Spitkowski: We applied for certification, as we are convinced that the DIN EN ISO 9001:2008 quality management system will help us to further improve our services continuously, for the benefit and safety of our patients. Furthermore, we want to show our affiliated physicians and health payers, that the PAN Clinic has been and will always be a competent partner for highest quality demands, thus ensuring our continuous economic success.
The PAN Clinic is the first private clinic in Cologne with a Certification DIN ISO 9001:2008
But why not ensure this without a quality label? How do your patients benefit from this?
Eugen Spitkowski: Of course we do not actually depend on this quality label. So far we have succeeded quite well in convincing our patients of our superior range of services. With the introduction of the DIN ISO 9001:2008 quality management system, however, all staff members from the receptionist to our management undertake to adhere to certain rules and guidelines and to verify this adherence through an internal monitoring system. This way our common goal - consistent improvement - is systemized and thus facilitated.
So what exactly does quality monitoring mean?
Eugen Spitkowski: To me as the managing director, the introduction of the QM system means – besides plenty of other responsibilities – providing certain resources for training programmes, for instance. As of now, every staff member has to live up to his or her own training schedule, depending on his or her needs to cope with increasingly complex individual tasks. My staff members are supposed to be able to check on this at any time and if necessary ask for such training if not provided in accordance with the training schedule. This is an example for how the QM system provides for increased transparency and participative management.
Further, every staff member is committed to documenting their working processes, to subject him- or herself to continuous improvement and act accordingly. The individual processes can be looked up in our manual any time, thus largely avoiding errors.
All this consistent internal monitoring, also called “auditing“, means for instance, that an OR staff member audits the use of pharmaceuticals in the ward, whereas the ward nurse audits an administrative process, the administration secretary controlling e.g. the OR procurement process.
These internal audits actually prepare us for the external annual audit, carried out by the LGA Intercert Company. In the future, we will have to prove every three years that we still deserve the certification!
Isn‘t that too much control? Don’t the staff members feel restricted?
Eugen Spitkowski: Not at all! In the course of several discussions in the past few months we realised that the staff members are glad to work in accordance with general rules. If anything does not work well, everyone knows exactly what to do. Before, responses to patient complaints, for instance, followed no defined concept.
Today everything is clearly defined and has already become ingrained. Our staff members start looking for possible solutions immediately upon receipt of a complaint. Staff members of all areas of operation learn to reach out and think outside the box. They even give advice in areas they are not specifically trained in.
From the management point of view I observe a tremendous increase in dedication among our staff members. In the past few months I was given the opportunity to learn a lot from them.
Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it?!
Eugen Spitkowski: Well – not quite. The process was of course not that simple. As a managing or medical director you cannot just tell your staff members “Well, we would like to get certified on the 1st of August.” Actually the process took almost two years, beginning with the development of a quality policy and philosophy, accepted by all staff members, which was the starting point for a lot of work on its implementation. You cannot just do that along the way. Resources need to be provided wherever possible and – as with every major project – everybody was quite stressed towards the end of the implementation period. But it was worth all the trouble! I am very proud of the entire PAN team!
Thank you for your detailed replies!
If you would like to learn more about the quality management at the PAN Clinic, please contact Mr Spitkowski directly at +49 (0)221-2776-610 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org