Managing Director of Hamad Medical Corporation HMC Hanan Al Kuwari PhD, announced that Hamad Medical Corporation has recently signed an agreement with the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education- International ACGME-I through which HMC seeks to be accredited by the ACGME-I.
The ACGME is the authority that is responsible for accrediting hospitals and medical centers in the USA that sponsor postgraduate specialization programs for recently graduated doctors, also known residents and fellows, in the different medical fields. HMC is one of the largest sponsoring institutions for Graduate Medical Education GME programs in the Middle East.
By signing this agreement, Qatar is the second country in the world outside of the USA besides Singapore, and the first country in the Middle East, to be officially considered for accreditation by the ACGME-I. The ACGME-I mandates that the highest educational and training standards for doctors be implemented at a medical center before the accreditation is granted.
These standards help to improve the training and educational environment of doctors in their specialization period which leads to better and safer patients’ care. In addition, they serve to assure the graduation of highly competent future specialists. The agreement was signed in March 2012 in the presence of the Dr. Tim Flynn Chair of the Board of the ACGME and the Dr. Thomas Nasca the President of the ACGME in addition to other senior leaders from the ACGME and HMC.
“We are very proud to be the first country in the Middle East and the second country in the world to sign an agreement with the ACGME-I” Dr. Hanan Al Kuwari said. “This is considered as a major milestone in pathway of achieving the vision of His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa, and Her Highness Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser, for achieving the highest standards of health care in Qatar” she added. “We have worked very hard in applying the ACGME-I standards and we dedicated significant efforts and resources for this purpose. We expect to obtain the institutional accreditation this October which will allow our individual residency and fellowship programs to get accredited starting next year” she said.
“This is an important agreement that opens the doors for us to excel in postgraduate medical education and to be a highly attractive academic center for best newly graduating physicians from around the world”, Dr. Abdullatif Alkhal, Deputy Chief of Medical Staff for Academic Affairs and Director of Graduate Medical Education GME said. “HMC approached the ACGME few years ago for this purpose and we had been preparing for this moment since, and we hope to receive the institutional accreditation before the end of 2012” he said. “With the support of our visionary leader, Dr. Hanan Al Kuwari we will be the second country in the world after Singapore to get this prestigious accreditation” he said.
Once HMC as an institution gets accredited, the ACGME-I then will start looking into the individual program accreditation next year. This initially will include 7 priority programs including Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Accident & Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, Radiology, Psychiatry and Urology. The remaining programs will apply for accreditation in 2014.
HMC has been preparing for the ACGME accreditation in collaboration with renowned partners and leaders in medical education such as Weill Cornell Medical School in Qatar, the University of Illinois in Chicago, Partners-Harvard system, and the University of Texas Medical Branch. The preparation for the accreditation is a major effort that requires significant reforms in the system and intense continuing professional development of the medical staff (Faculty development) in addition to creating the appropriate governing policies, rules and regulations. It also requires showing strong commitment and evidence of continuous self monitoring and improvement on the side of the institution.
This week, the ACGME-I is doing an initial review for HMC to identify any issues that need to be addressed before the accreditation review in October of this year. During this review they will meet with the Managing Director, the Residency Program Directors and some of the Residents. The ACGME-I requires that hospitals must be accredited by the Joint Commission International (JCI) before they are considered for accreditation by the ACGME-I.