NADC’s Centres of Excellence Accreditation Standards [transcript][audio]

Guest: Natalie Wischer

Presenter: Henry Acosta

Guest Bio: Natalie Wischer is the Chief Executive Officer for the National Association of Diabetes Centre (NADC). She has been working in the area of diabetes for over 20 years. She has also worked extensively in both management and clinical roles across acute, aged care and community health settings. She is involved in a number of journals and publications, sharing her in-depth knowledge through regular articles. Natalie is also regularly invited to speak on diabetes and technology at national and international meetings.

Segment Overview: Natalie talks about the NADC’s Diabetes Centres of Excellence accreditation standards in Australia. Centres of Excellence recognition is given to applicants who have met the key criteria as assessed by the NADC Accreditation Committee and is awarded for a period of four years. The NADC is a collaboration of Diabetes Centres across Australia, committed to supporting member centres in improving the standard of care for people living with or at risk of diabetes.


Henry Acosta: Hi, thanks for listening. This is Health Professional Radio with Henry Acosta. Joining us today is Natalie Wischer. Natalie is the CEO of the National Association of Diabetes Centres or known as the NADC. She’s joining us today to talk about what they’re up to and what to look forward to with NADC. With all that said, welcome to the show Natalie. It’s good to have you back on the show.

Natalie Wischer: Thank you very much. It’s a real pleasure to be back and to again talk about the great activities that the National Association of Diabetes Centres has been up to recently.

H: Can you tell us what have you guys been up to lately?

N: Well we’ve just had the National Diabetes Annual Scientific Meeting in Australia and that was held in Perth this year. At that meeting, NADC announced the Centres of Excellence and Centres of Excellence is around Diabetes Organisations that members of NADC and have achieved accreditation throughout NADC program. So they’ve already sort of shun out of centres that are doing great things and met all the standards and requirements, have a Tertiary Diabetes Centre in Australia. but to go on and achieve Centres of Excellence is absolutely phenomenal. It’s exceptionally good because it shows that they’re real leaders in 5 key areas, which includes education, national employments research, service delivery, practice policy development and guidance. So all of those are really key areas and they need to demonstrate that they’re not only doing that on the national level in diabetes but also on an international level. So it’s exciting that we could announce our Centre of Excellence in Perth this year, so that was great.

H: Alright, so how many Centres of Excellence are there right now in Australia?

N: Good question, Henry. We currently have four. So we started this program as ‘Centers of Excellence’, probably about 5 or 6 years ago. We had our first round of applications 2 years ago, it takes a little while to pull together. We had 10 applications 2 years ago and only for organisations achieved that really high standard. So the standards are very robust, they’re quite hard to achieve. We have a panel of experts that review every application. Every application has to come in with evidence around every single criteria and within those 5 criteria that are spelled out, there’s other requirements within each one of those and each one requires evidence. This is quite a lot of works for each organisation, so we have currently 4 and then we open the process of review every 2 years. This being 2017, we opened it again. So the very first year with 2015, we opened. So now we have a total, that we’ve renounced another successful Centre of Excellence, we have a total of 5 Centers of Excellence in Australia.

H: It sounds pretty crazy how consistent you guys actually put up or making sure that these facilities are Centres of Excellence. Can you give us a quick summary on what makes them Centres of Excellence?

N: Yes, absolutely. As I’ve mentioned, they have to show that they’re really leaders in providing education and around education that’s not just education to the person with diabetes. It’s also a training internal health professionals as well as external health professionals, running certified training programs, consumer education, and teaching medical nursing on our allied health students. We also like to say that they’re using modern technology like video conferencing, webinars and web based programs. I also mentioned that they need to show that they’re leaders not only nationally but internationally. So we look for evidence around partnerships with major diabetes organisations across the world and international profiles. Most about successful organisations have leaders in diabetes that have collaborated on international papers and presented in international conferences, during translational research and that’s absolutely fantastic and that leads onto another criteria which is around research. So we need to see evidence that our Centres of Excellence are really contributing significantly to raise it around diabetes and chronic disease management. And that some of that information is translated into real sort of care of the person with diabetes. And then we got down to the key criteria which is service delivery. We need to say that the centre is providing intra disciplinary, team cultured care that’s to the highest standard, that they have a regular meetings, agendas, action plans. They’re very focused on quality improvement so they’re looking for opportunities to look up what they do and how they can improve it. That they also have models of care, they have potentially outreached programs, that they participate in during audits. We offer at NADC the Australian National Diabetes Audit and that’s once a year. We like to say that they’ve participated in that and they’ve used the data that we’ve provided from that national audit to improve their services. And we also require them to be involved with continuous glucose monitoring and insulin pump therapy. We do also ask if there’s some evidence around how they’re including or look at including technology in their service to liberate. And then the 5th standard that we require evidence on is around practice policy development and guidance. So around again, quality improvement, the engagement of the consumers. So do they ask for feedback, do they reflect on the feedback from their patients? We also check that they’re making sure that all the criteria of their staff, the qualifications that they inject that sounds somewhat obvious really, but I think we can’t be complacent on these things. And evidence that they do regular reviews of their organisations, policies and procedures, again sounds like general office day work but it’s important to check these things. And then a couple of other things, we check that they’ve got succession plan, professional development and that they have a real team approach to their diabetes service. So there’s a lot in there, I have summarized that but Centres of Excellence that have achieved that level certainly are well deserving because they really, really do a great job in all those areas.

H: Those sound like hefty standards to live up to and it sounds like a lot of preparation comes into becoming a Centres of Excellence. I think that’s the reason why you do call them Centres of Excellence.

N: Absolutely. And I just reiterate your words there, there is a lot of work and action. It is not a mandatory requirement of any of our NADC centres or any centres across Australia. It’s just really the ability to be nationally and internationally recognized as a Centre of Excellence, with a really robust standard there. But it’s completely voluntary, but we do make recommendations to any centre that does apply – that it will be a real team approach, that it’s not left to one person within the diabetes service to put the application and the evidence together. It’s really important that everyone contributes, because as you said there’s a bit of work in that.

H: You mentioned that there were 10 applicants before that tried becoming a Centre of Excellence. And let’s say for those applicants who want to or who weren’t accepted at first and have looked to improve their own centres, can they apply again just to see if they can get accredited?

N: Absolutely. So part of that process and we have got better this year, is providing really a lot of information and feedback to them as to what they’re doing extremely well because even if they have achieved Centres of Excellence, they
are asked to doing great things in different areas but we do make our criteria across most levels mandatory. So if there’s a couple of areas that they’ve fallen down in, and really so that doesn’t show that they will be able to achieve that, we do provide feedback so that they can work on those areas and come back and apply again in 2 years. Because once a centre has achieved Centres of Excellence, they have that certification for 4 years. So it gives organisations even if they don’t make that level, another couple of years to prepare. And I have to say for my volunteer committee that review applications every 2 years, it gives them a bit of a break from the intensive reviews that has to happen.

H: That’s actually a great news for all the centers out there who looks to achieve the stamp of excellence from you guys.

N: Yes, exactly. And as I said before, before they go for Centres of Excellence, it’s really important that they go through the NADC standard accreditation process first because that helps set them up for Centres of Excellence. So to give them some good guidance to do that first.

H: Let’s say you’re diabetic or you have a relative who’s diabetic, how do you know if you’re at an accredited NADC center?

N: Yes, good question Henry. I think it’s really important that the person with diabetes asks. But I’d like to say, that I’ve got a photo here of the Royal Melbourne hospital who had just achieved the Centre of Excellence in Melbourne in Australia. They’re holding a very fine, very fancy plaque and we award our centers with a great plaque. Plus centers also can use our logo and Centres of Excellence on their emails, on their letterheads, so they can really profile, add that profile to all of their documentation that they provide to consumers and within their organisation. And we had have feedback from organisations to say it’s really helped with their process, with dealing with trying to get more funding as well. It’s really helped on that level.

H: For our listeners right now who are interested in going to one of the accredited centers or even a Centre of Excellence, what’s the best way that they can find them on the internet? There’s probably too many to mention on the show.

N: Yes. I better not mention them because I may find that I left some out which it would be horrible. So the great way to find it is to find not only our Centres of Excellence but also our NADC accredited centers so people can be sure that they’re going to a good quality diabetes service that’s been validated and checked. You can go on to NADC website, so the website address is So pretty simple and if you go on to the area around services, NADC members centers, you’ll find the map. And it’s an interactive map and you’ll be able to see where all our centers are.

H: That’s great news for everyone, not just for our listeners but to all people around the world who’s listening right now. For those interested in talking to you Natalie, what’s the best way that they can do that as well?

N: Yes, if anyone wants to contact me and talk anything around the National Association of Diabetes Centers and some of the projects that we deliver and the benchmarking and quality and improvement and stuff that we’re doing, please contact me by email which is and one of my team members will forward those questions that you have for me and I’ll get straight back to you. Anyone that’s interested in what we’re doing at the NADC.

H: Sounds great and I just want to repeat that, that’s Is that correct?

N: Yes. That’s it.

H: Sounds great. That’s all our questions for today and it was a pleasure having you on the show today again.

N: Thanks Henry. I really enjoyed chatting to you.

H: I hope you come back again soon and talk about more of the events that NADC does.

N: I’d love to, anytime.

H: That was Natalie Wischer. Natalie is the CEO of the National Association of Diabetes Center in Australia. And to know more about them and to stay updated with their news, events and know the locations of the accredited NADC centres. You can visit their website at If you enjoy interviews that are health related and medical industry news, you can find us on I’m Henry Acosta and you’re listening to Health Professional Radio.

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