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In February 2011, Hertfordshire practice Stevenage Orthodontics – led by Principal Jonathan Alexander Abt – became the first specialist orthodontic practice in the UK to achieve ISO 9001:2008 certification. The practice had previously achieved Investors in People and BDA Good Practice certification in 2004. 

To put in place the necessary frameworks for its application, the practice appointed a Quality Manager from its existing team of staff in 2008. Over the course of the next three years, this new Quality Manager helped to steer the practice towards successful certification.  

Quality Management System Certification 

The ISO 9001:2015 certificate, which replaces the previous ISE 9001:2008 certificate, shows that a business or organisation has achieved excellence in its quality management procedures. For example, to be awarded the certificate, an organisation would need to show effective leadership, a strong customer focus, a dynamic approach to processes, and a culture of continually striving to improve. 

Also measured is an organisation’s ability to consistently follow regulations and the quality of its documentation processes. 

Benefits of Certification 

For Stevenage Orthodontics, achieving ISO 9001:2008 certification was a great way to formally identify and catalogue all the best practice processes already being followed; obtaining the certificate demonstrated to patients that they could expect the service to meet their expectations and that all regulations were being consistently adhered to. 

Other benefits that derive from striving towards this certification include cost saving through increases to efficiency, and the development of processes for continuing improvement at a practice. Take a look at the embedded PDF for more information about the benefits to an organisation of being awarded ISO 9001 certification. 

Continuing Improvement 

A key component of obtaining ISO 9001:2015 certification is the ability to demonstrate a culture of continuing improvement. There needs to be a system in place to identify opportunities for improvement in both processes (for example, record keeping) and services (for example, initial orthodontic consultation), and this should be backed up by consistent and high-quality record keeping.  

Such a system could revolve around the four stages of planning, implementing, checking results, and either actioning a change or returning to the first stage if the change was not successful.  

Continuing improvement forms part of the benchmark for achieving this prestigious certification, setting a high standard for quality management systems so service users can be sure the service they will receive is the one they expect (or better).