The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is an independent regulator of health and adult social care services provided in England. The purpose of CQC is to ensure that the care provided by service providers such as GP practices, hospitals, dentists, ambulances, care home and home-care agencies meet government standards of quality and safety and also protect the interests of vulnerable people.
The commission took over the work of three previous regulators: the Healthcare Commission, which inspected the NHS as well as private and voluntary healthcare providers; the Commission for Social Care Inspection; and the Mental Health Act Commission. That means it has responsibility for ensuring hospitals, care homes, dentists, GPs and care homes are safe and that they offer high-quality compassionate care. Health and social care providers also have to register with the organisation to operate.
As a requirement of Section 23 (1) of the Health and Social Care Act 2008, the CQC was introduced as part of a wider framework that includes regulation of professionals in a health and social care environment such as nurses, doctors and support staff. The framework is designed to ensure that people who use services are protected and receive the care, treatment and support they need.
The CQC have produced a set of 28 essential standards, each with an outcome relating to the quality and safety of care which is provided to the service users. Service providers have to ensure that they meet the mandatory outcomes which include outcomes such as consent to care and treatment, management of medicines, cleanliness and infection control and care and welfare of people who use services. Inspections of the services can be carried out impromptu and therefore encouraged to continuously refer back to the outcomes to ensure they are being met.
· The LHIS HIStranet is a tool which can help service providers monitor the quality and safety of the services that are provided and comply with CQC audits. The assessment tool which can be accessed by all staff in your service has the following features: A specially designed Document Library tool which can link policies and documents within the HIStranet site directly to the CQC outcomes. All CQC related items can then be viewed in its own outcome section in mandatory and non-mandatory areas, easily identifiable and accessible for CQC relevance for audit visits and evidencing.
· The Intranet system is typically used to replace the shared drive approach of storing organisational folders and files which can become an overhead in terms of managing and organising the information, easy search functions, tagging capabilities and simple navigation to assist the end user with locating information easily.
· Auditing tool (which can be used with a workflow and alerts function) to ensure there is evidence to suggest that all members of staff or appropriate bodies have access and read / viewed or contributed to the supporting resources enabling CQC outcomes to be met.
· Notifications and Alert functionality to prompt for attention on urgent and / or CQC related matters
· Browser based technology used which provides an interactive end user experience
· Reporting capabilities for audit requests and evidencing
The CQC also advise that as part of the preparation of the inspection, an assessment tool is used to assess and monitor the quality of service that is being provided. The tool can ensure that all members of staff are aware of the outcomes that need to be met by the service provider which can be monitored using an audit tool or by reviewing and acting on people’s feedback through comment cards or surveys. Breaching these outcomes would mean that the service provider would have to take action to ensure they improve and provide proof that they will. If service providers do not improve CQC can take further action called enforcement action, although this is dependent on the outcome that was breached, the action could involve restricting the services that the provider can offer, stopping admissions or even prosecution.
For more information about LHIS’s HIStranet product which supports CQC document management requirements, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about CQC, you can visit their site at http://www.cqc.org.uk/.
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Rupal Patel, blogging for NHS Leicestershire Health Informatics Service, your one-stop-shop for information management and technology. Writing about some of the work we do, discussing IT issues, introducing some of our terriffic staff and generally shedding a little light on the world of health informatics. Visit our website at: www.leics-his.nhs.uk
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