The BGH-MC is currently ISO certified, the questions facing us now is: “SO WHAT? Did we achieve the essence of ISO? What’s in it for us?

In 2013, the initial ISO accreditation at the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center was a struggle. We were challenged, defiant and had reservations about it. We were skeptics and say “iso met lang” in Ilokano with emphasize in iso, meaning “it’s just the same.” But what does ISO means?

Back in 1946, the Institute of Civil Engineers from 25 countries saw the need for international standards, as a result, ISO (International Standardization Organization) officially begun in February 23, 1947. Its principle was to make things work in world class specifications of products, services, systems, and ensure quality, safety and efficiency.

The ISO process was supposed to aid us in our hospital operations to conform to accepted international standards and regulate our organization. To establish our system and lead us towards competitive edge in bringing quality health care to our clients with great satisfaction.

Here are the Pros and Cons about the BGH-MC experience of our ISO Accreditation:

  1. Every personnel was involved and responsibilities were pinpointed from top management down to the lowest rank.
  2. Our Quality Policy was reset and at par with international standards;
  3. The objective of each department was geared into one direction as we continually improve our Quality Management System and Risk Management concerning our patients, hospital and our organization;

Here are some proof that the ISO process is effective at the BGHMC:

  1. We were awarded as one of the Best Hospital for 2015 and Top 3 for 2016 in the whole Philippines by the Department of Health.
  2. We easily provide best patient care as we strengthened our bonds within our department and interlinked with other divisions of the hospital.
  3. Needed supplies, equipment, products and services were assertively upgraded and procured.
  4. Additional offices that cater to the welfare of the employees were established like the PETRO (Training and Research Office) and others.
  5. We are being visited by other hospitals and lately by the Association of Chief Nurses of the Philippines for bench marking.
  6. We were selected North of the Philippines as the established site for the Heart, Lung and Kidney Center, the Eye and Cancer Center.
  7. We continually received awards and commendations from our work in research, case presentations and passed most of our exams in diplomats and concerned fields of specialization like the Nurse Certification Program.
  1. Paperwork! More was required instead of being simplified;
  2. Processes were not followed as they were tedious, tiresome and mind numbing that sustaining them is a virtue;
  3. Non-conformity was met with resistance and some were unwilling to adopt as they clash with customs and traditions;
  4. Several processes were only confined to paper and not really embraced but accomplished for posterity’s sake;
  5. The accreditors who evaluated us were not hospital based and medically inclined, they only rely on the quality management system being presented by us;
  6. Money! We paid one consultancy firm half million to coach and train us of the ISO process. We paid AJA and spent millions of pesos in ISO process which can be used to upgrade hospital equipment or used for HR development/training or utilized as savings that can be distributed as CNA Bonus at the end of the year.
  7. We were stunned when our ISO accreditation from ISO 9001:2008 to ISO 9001:2015 was changed within a year. This adds to more expenses, more changes to process and more wearisome paperwork;
  8.  Again it’s costly! The accreditation is valid within 3 years, and renewed every year costing us time, money and effort. Imagine paying again consultants and accreditors annually with millions of pesos to include their food and accommodations

The ISO process should not be dismally depressing to be wholeheartedly embraced by the whole organization and not costly either. Imagine paying thousands or millions of pesos to the accrediting body when an alternative can be proposed at a lower cost; like Internal Audit or Inter-hospital audit or audit by the team from the Department of Health themselves.

To quote the words of the International Health Care Accreditation: “Hospital is not just a building. It’s a place where individual and families seek advice, comfort and miracle. Where excellence is the minimum expectation and where a mistake can change your life in a heartbeat.”

Let us not forget then to turn our noble profession being at the BGHMC to be of service to our fellow men and be a blessings to them. This is the secret of BGHMC’s competitive edge.

And next time you say “So what? And what’s in it for me?” Why not say “What’s next? Medical tourism? International healthcare accreditation? JCI? Anyone?”

 (This article is intended for the Blog Contest during the National Hospital Week this August 2017 and for any comments and suggestions please email me at

Fernando M. Calion, Jr., RN, MAN, EMT, 42, Nurse Supervisor, Surgery ICU, Nursing Division
Fernando M. Calion, Jr., RN, MAN, EMT, 42, Nurse Supervisor, Surgery ICU, Nursing Division