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May 13 2012

Hospitals to report serious errors online

By SAEED AL-KHOTANI All hospitals in the Kingdom, whether government or private, will have to report online any serious medical error, said Health Minister Abdullah Al-Rabeeah yesterday at the launch of his ministry's electronic portal for health services.

"The portal contains a system to receive reports of such errors from hospitals. Once these reports are in the system, we are automatically notified of them by SMS at the same time," the minister said.

"This will keep us informed round the clock of all the serious medical events taking place in our hospitals and how they are handled and whether there is need for further intervention," he added.

"We are not aiming to detect medical errors simply to punish. We want to eliminate such errors and improve performance. Failure to report such events will subject the hospital to further sanctions, and this will apply to all hospitals," the minister said.

Other features of the new portal include a clinical audit system that measures the efficiency of hospitals using 49 internationally recognized major standards, a bed control system to best utilize available beds at hospitals, and a patient satisfaction measurement system.

The new portal also includes a system that contains and updates all information related to each hospital as well as its resources and information on consultant physicians at the ministry including their credentials and experience, career development and performance evaluations.

The portal was launched in the presence of top ministry officials, Shoura Council members and reporters.

Al-Rabeeah said the ministry was looking to improve health care standards to the levels Saudis and residents deserve.

"We are working to get all hospitals evaluated through the accreditation system. We have signed an agreement with the Joint Commission International to initially quality assess 10 of our hospitals for JCI accreditation. The first hospital recently accredited by this body is in Makkah and other hospitals are expected to follow soon," he said.

© Arab News 2012


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