The overall objective of the project was to support the Ministry of Health in establishing the Agency for Accreditation and Continuous Quality Improvement of Health Care in Serbia to develop its legal and regulatory, institutional, organizational and managerial arrangements and operating processes and practices.
The creation of professional bodies, and the Agency, to monitor and support continuous improvement in the quality and safety of health care services in Serbia was foreshadowed in the 2005 Health Care Law. The Agency, founded by the Serbian Government as public body, began its work in 2008 and was conceived as a key player in the performance monitoring and management of health care safety and quality issues. The Agency’s original brief was focused on continuous quality improvement and in particular the establishment of the voluntary accreditation system. Through various Ministry of Health (MoH) initiatives, consultative processes and project activities, the broader role of the Agency in supporting and sustaining continuous quality improvement has been clarified. It has been decided that the Agency should act as the major support for the Quality Commission which is responsible for developing clinical guidelines, clinical protocols and clinical pathways for the public health care system. The Agency has also been identified as the focal point for the development of a Health Technology Assessment (HTA) capacity to provide an evidence-based decision support system to MoH, the Health Insurance Fund, the Public Health Institute and other agencies involved in the planning, financing and operation of health and health care services.
The project offered recommendations, strategies and phased plans for the successful implementation of an accreditation-based regulatory system ensuring continuous quality improvement for public health and related institutions in Serbia. Major project activities were concerned with the development of policies, strategies and regulatory systems for accreditation; the design and testing of a performance indicator system in 37 pilot sites for inclusion in the accreditation system; the production of quality and standards strategies and schedules; the design and testing of the accreditation system process in 9 pilot sites (mixed public and private); the training of more than 90 surveyors, and the accomplishment of other tasks linked to the accreditation process (including preparing a strategic development pathway for the Agency), as well as the absorption of a number of new tasks, a mandatory certification scheme and organizational developments related to HTA and clinical practice developments.
A total of 67 educational workshops, training sessions and conference events were implemented with more than 3,400 participants to obtain the project results. This also included a regional conference to introduce the idea of a Regional Network for Quality and Accreditation in Southeast Europe (SEE) to promote regional partnerships and enable the Agency to benefit from sharing experiences, good practice and results throughout the region.