The wellness and healthcare business has so far been unregulated and subject to quackery by players who make money using whatever means possible. These businesses are now looking at building up credibility for their services through a self-regulatory process of accreditation.
On 7 January 2010, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) jointly with Quality Council of India (QCI) and National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers (NABH) released ‘the accreditation standards’ for wellness centres and healthcare institutions with the objective of striving for continuous excellence and better standards for both the organisation as well as the customer.
Milind Soman, model, actor and founder of Breathe Fitness, said, “There are a lot of organisations that are taking advantage of the ignorance of the public, the plethora of myths, misinformation about fitness and wellness just to make a quick buck.
This can not only be detrimental to the physical wellbeing of an individual, but also the emotional wellbeing and has to be stringently guarded against. Malpractices by these people will adversely affect the credibility, profitability and growth of the industry in the long run.”
In order to make a difference, it is important to get oneself accredited. Accreditation is defined as a public recognition by a national accreditation body of the achievement of the accreditation standards.
Dr Girdhar Gyani, secretary general, QCI said, “Every player should adopt best practices and adopt self-discipline to become a role model. Whatever regulatory mechanism that is made will only improve the level of adoption of standards which most of you are already following.”
He added, “Customers would be the biggest beneficiary among all the stakeholders as accreditation results in high quality of care and customer safety, leading to satisfaction. It stimulates continuous improvement enabling the wellness centre to demonstrate commitment to quality service. It raises community confidence in the services provided by the centre and provides an opportunity to the wellness unit to benchmark with the best.”
Dr Harish Nadkarni, chief executive and managing director of Quality Care said, “The idea of accreditation is not to go and find out how many institutes will fail. The idea is to see how many you can pass or assist to pass.”
While this is a long overdue development, it does have its share of drawbacks. A major issue that was brought up by the industry was the capability of employees in providing acceptable levels of service. It was pointed out that some training programmes give an individual a certificate after just twelve hours of training. While the technical committee of the NABH washed its hands of the issue saying that it doesn’t accredit training institutes, industry professionals felt that setting acceptable standards of training was a topic that needed serious discussion.
A group even sat back after the conference to discuss and debate this issue of setting standards for the quality of service, stating that if the education minister doesn’t set a standard, they as an industry would set it themselves.