virus has a major impact on the way everyone works. This also applies to the
work for the Accreditation and Designation programme of the OECI.
spring, the audit for the Cancer Centre in Reggio Emilia was cancelled in a
hurry after it became clear that the number of Covid-19 patients in the
northern provinces of Italy was rapidly increasing at the end of February. The
number of Covid-19 cases also increased rapidly in the rest of Europe. It
became clear that visiting cancer centres on-site would no longer be possible
for the entire international audit team in the near future, since the auditors
who work in cancer centres come from all over Europe. So the A&D Board
asked the coordinators to set up a virtual peer review system. The key enabler for this process is that the
A&D Programme is entirely electronic in its documentation: all
self-assessment, uploading of evidence, documentation, and auditors’ review, is
through the e-tool in a secure area of the OECI website.
Board’s goal in making adjustments to the peer review was to protect the health
and well-being of the health professionals and the OECI auditors and
coordinators, and to minimise any spread of the virus. The goal was also to
guarantee the quality of peer reviews and to continue the accreditation process
for those institutes that had already prepared the self-assessment or had started
hybrid audit, the audit team consists of 2 local auditors (from the country
itself, in this case Italy), 2-3 remote auditors and the remote co-ordinator.
The interviews are conducted by videoconferencing. The 2 local auditors visit
the different departments and in this way they can observe the environment and
atmosphere in the centre and share this with the remote auditors.
hybrid audit was carried out in September for a cancer centre in Aviano. A
hybrid or virtual audit requires a very good preparation of the audit team, and
detailed planning of the agenda and of the technical aspects. Our evaluation, however, was the the hybrid
peer review was successful, and indeed the centre reported in the post-audit
evaluation from that they were very satisfied with the process. This was despite the fact that it is quite
difficult for the auditors to get a good feeling of what is going on at the
other side of the screen, especially if the interviewees are wearing a mouth
first good experience, we looked forward to the next one with confidence. This
was due to take place at the end of October. Only 2 days before the audit it
became clear that the Covid-19 virus had caught up with us again. Due to the
tightened measures in Italy it was again not possible for the local auditors to
be physically present in Azienda Unità Sanitaria Locale di Reggio Emilia-IRCCS.
Thanks to the commitment and flexibility of the centre and the auditors, we
were able to convert this audit into a 100% virtual audit within one day. The
centre did as much as possible to give us the best possible picture of their
centre by giving us a virtual tour and the opportunity to join
multidisciplinary team meetings.
virtual form will allow us to continue auditing centres in the near future, as
long as the virus does not preclude any non-critical clinical activity. This
year, 3 more audits are planned in Padova, Naples and Rome; these will be
completely virtual. But, ofcourse, we hope that the situation will improve
soon and that we will be able to be physically present with other audits,
because a virtual audit can never completely replace an on-site visit! For this
reason also, the virtual format will not be feasible for a brand new
accreditation of a centre.
If you want
to know more about the OECI Accreditation and Designation programme or this
approach to auditing, please contact one of the co-ordinators at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Willien Westerhuis, Annemiek Kwast, Jolanda van Hoeve and Harriët Blaauwgeers