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Certificate of Compliance: COVID-19 Safe

Thank you to The Beryl Institute for publishing this June 2021 case study for its members. It focuses on the journey taken by Temos International Healthcare Accreditation to create, design, implement, and launch its “Certificate of Compliance: COVID-19 Safe” program to reduce the risk of transmission while making the program’s standards free to healthcare providers anywhere in the world.

The Challenge

The COVID-19 pandemic put pressure on healthcare systems worldwide, creating an environment of uncertainty for patients, staff, and visitors. It changed the delivery of healthcare services overnight. Many hospitals and clinics closed fully or partially. Those providers that continued to offer services were challenged by additional infection prevention measures, shortage of staff and personal protective equipment (PPE), uncertainty and fear, new or changing regulations, and more. Providers and patients asked for guidance and answers where there were no answers yet. Even well-established services and patient experience programs went into a tailspin.

Early in 2020, our Temos accredited partners contacted us and requested guidance to develop new systems and processes necessitated by COVID-19. A few requests quickly snowballed into more requests that grew in urgency. The severity of the COVID-19 situation quickly became apparent to the Temos team. Our clients, colleagues, and contacts were asking us to use our expertise in infection control & prevention, risk management, patient safety, patient experience, and more to create solutions and guidance for them. They turned to Temos for guidelines to assure patients and staff that the risk of transmission was being reduced and that patient experience was not being compromised.

The Solution

In response to the urgent requests for guidance and assistance, Temos’ CEO and Founder, Dr. Claudia Mika, convened an urgent virtual regional office meeting. She explained to the team that our clients and colleagues were asking for our help. Clearly our team has the expertise, established systems and processes, skills, and knowledge to offer something of value to our clients as well as healthcare providers and governments around the world.

The idea was formulated to pull together a small team who would volunteer their services to conduct research upon which to build a set of COVID-19 standards for hospitals and clinics that focused on reducing the risk of transmission while managing a new patient and staff experience.

This new COVID-19 program would follow the traditional business model of offering a certificate program for which clients would pay for access to the standards as well as Temos’ online tools that support self-assessment, offer resources, and access to the company’s team of experts. Given the harsh financial situation many providers were facing as well as the extreme urgency of the pandemic, we realized that many hospitals & clinics would not be able to afford even the modest price for the certificate program.

The regional office representatives discussed the idea of offering the “standards only” for free for hospitals and clinics to download on demand. The risk of competitors downloading the standards and creating their own programs was acknowledged. Despite this business risk, the Temos regional offices voted unanimously to create a “free option”, making the standards available to anyone who wanted them. Our corporate principles were more important than making money.

In March 2020, the small team of subject matter experts was created along with marketing support to create the program. The research was conducted, source materials identified, standards drafted, online tools for self-assessment developed, website and marketing content written, and press release prepared. By May 2020, within two short months, the “COVID-19 Safe: Certificate of Compliance” program to reduce the risk of transmission was launched.

The certificate program was and still is offered as either a paid program or the “standards only” free option.

The Goals

Our team set four goals for the COVID-19 program.

First, by offering the set of standards free of charge, we wanted to contribute in a positive way – as an international accreditation body and as part of our corporate social responsibility - to offer a solution relevant to minimizing the challenges of these difficult times. The program is a tangible expression of our appreciation for the incredible sacrifices made by healthcare professionals around the world.

Second, we wanted to assure that all hospitals and clinics worldwide have access to our world-class standards based on best international clinical practices, scientific studies and guidelines published by WHO, CDC, ISQua and other reputable sources, as well as the vast experience of our team of experts.

Third, the decision was made from the outset to continuously update the standards for free as more is learned about this disease. The decision represents the commitment to our clients, o