"In setting up the WalkInDoctor practice I saw compliance as one of my biggest challenges"
Making compliance a stroll for WalkInDoctor
A Quality Compliance Systems case study
WalkInDoctor is a private GP surgery located in Harley Street, central London, and offers a suite of health services. The practice provides convenience for those with busy lives and hectic schedules that find it difficult to visit local doctors at a time of their choice. The practice is owned and operated by Dr Hammad Malik.
Dr Malik has over 20 years experience and particular expertise in travel medicine, sexual health and neurology. As well as GP consultations, WalkInDoctor offers tests and screening for a full range of medical conditions, scanning and travel and vaccination services. WalkInDoctor offers the highest standards of care, the strictest confidentiality and places a firm emphasis on delivering patient-centric care governed by compliance.
WalkInDoctor opened its doors to patients on 1st January 2013. “I had experience of working in bigger organisations, as a partner in a private medical company and NHS general practices. In the last group practice one of the other doctors took responsibility for compliance and wrote out the protocols,” says Dr Hammad Malik.
“In setting up the WalkInDoctor practice I saw compliance as one of my biggest challenges. The CQC website is very generic; it provides broad guidelines with what you need to achieve without any real detail on how you go about achieving it,” says Dr Malik.
He continues: “As an all-hander, taking care of compliance presents difficulties. Partly it is to understand what they are after, but it is also the time it takes you - working out what they want and then writing it. Even then, I had seen that producing the protocols using resources within your own practice is far from perfect. It does not provide a comprehensive set of protocols and they could be out of date the day after being written, but you might not know it.”
“I had the idea of finding a way forward by speaking to colleagues to find out how they tackle compliance. However, I was fortunate that the solution came to me through direct personal referral,” Dr Malik says.
The QCS General Practitioner Management system is a set of policies and procedures that are pre-written and which put compliance at the fingertips of GP surgeries. The policies and procedures are prepared by compliance experts and exacting attention to detail ensures every point of practice, process and procedure is included.
The system is composed of two elements, firstly a set of printed manuals is supplied which forms a ready reference. The manuals are modular and ring-bound, making them easy to handle and update when revisions are circulated by QCS.
The second element is the online system. This provides access to identical digital versions of the policies and procedures from any suitable web-connected device. Both the printed and the online parts of the system provide documentation that is customised for the GP practice. This prevents the need to insert information manually by populating the system with specific details of the practice. This includes the name of the organisation and the names of registered providers and managers, which are requirements of CQC compliance.
“Speaking as a busy medical professional, compliance is an area where you don’t have the time to work out all the details. You need to allow the compliance professionals to get on with it. If you take the CQC guidance as a starting point at one end, and work towards a QCS system procedure at the other end, it is unrealistic to think that you have the time to work out all the steps and write it up. If you have to repeat that for over 200 policies or procedures, then there’s clearly no chance!” says Dr Malik.
After 4 months of successfully operating Dr Malik believes that QCS compliance management saves a great deal of time and provides a highly professional approach. Using QCS compliance management, both registration and the pre-opening inspection by the CQC went very smoothly. “The CQC inspector was impressed by the fact that QCS compliance management is used to ensure that WalkInDoctor meets its regulatory requirements,” says Dr Malik.
The system is flexible and adapts to the changing needs of the business. “If I move premises it can populate the entire policy set with the new address. It also contains all the policies I might need as the business develops. As a new practice, I often consider new services to offer. I can put a keyword into the QCS management system and see what I would need to do to achieve compliance in any area,” says Dr Malik.
He continues, “HR is a good example. Sooner or later I expect to take on staff and I know I’ll need policies on employment essentials like grievances, annual leave and sick pay. These are things I have never had to do before, but I have seen that they are comprehensively described with customisable templates in the QCS system.”
Dr Malik is acutely aware of how compliance supports the professional reputation of WalkInDoctor. “Operating in a prestige area like Harley Street, professional reputation is everything. CQC doesn’t distinguish between whether compliance failure is a deliberate omission or just an accidental oversight. No matter how busy I am, I know QCS is taking care of compliance,” Dr Hammad Malik says.