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A Guide to Hospital Accreditation in Global Healthcare by Dr. Prem – Meaning, Types, Importance, Features, Benefits, Challenges, and More

A Guide to Hospital Accreditation in Global Healthcare by Dr. Prem - Meaning, Types, Importance, Features, Benefits, Challenges, and More

Hospital accreditation is an oft-used term in global healthcare where a hospital has to comply with standardized benchmarks on varied parameters to ensure the desired treatment outcomes, patient safety, and well-being. This rigorous process ensures gold standards in healthcare service and delivery for the best patient care. Accreditation builds trust and confidence in patients ensuring they get the best services and peace of mind. 

In this global healthcare guide, we will delve into the details of hospital accreditation, explaining its different types, importance, essential features, and challenges in securing accreditation.

A Guide to Hospital Accreditation in Global Healthcare by Dr. Prem – Meaning, Types, Importance, Features, Benefits, Challenges, and More

What is Hospital Accreditation?

Hospital AccreditationAccording to the Joint Commission International, one of the most respected accreditation bodies, to implement international quality standards around the world you should define ‘accreditation’ as “a process in which an entity, separate and distinct from the healthcare organization, usually non-governmental, assesses the healthcare organization to determine if it meets a set of requirements (standards) designed to improve the safety and quality of care”.

The international accreditation process is mostly a management decision (not necessarily the health government’s mandate) by the healthcare facility to demonstrate to its patients that they comply with the highest quality standards, based on internationally accepted stringent criteria. It is not necessarily mandatory for any healthcare organization to seek such accreditation.

The fact that a healthcare facility has gone through rigorous preparations to be bestowed with a stamp of accreditation proves they are committing to patient safety and care.

They aim to ensure a safe and caring environment for their patients, supplying their doctors with the highest quality training and resources to provide the utmost medical care to their patients. Hospitals and clinics implementing these high-quality standards are endlessly looking for opportunities to improve their facilities. They develop continuous improvement programs for their staff and utilize all patient evaluation data to improve the organization.

How Does Accreditation Impact the Healthcare Sector?

quality of healthcare services

Healthcare accreditation is vital as it indicates the quality of the organization’s performance. Despite the high costs, many healthcare organizations participate in various compliance accreditation processes. 

Accreditation is normally a voluntary activity wherein trained external personnel come to the healthcare organization and review whether or not it complies with some predetermined performance standards. 

Supporting evidence shows that various healthcare accreditation programs enhance the way services are provided. These accreditation programs enhance the clinical outcomes and the overall quality of healthcare services.

What are the Types of Hospital Accreditation?

Accreditation of hospitals

Here are the types of hospital accreditation:

  1. National Accreditation: Granted by national bodies specific to a country, such as NABH in India and CBAHI in Saudi Arabia.
  2. International Accreditation: Provided by global bodies like Joint Commission International (JCI), TEMOS, and ISQua.
  3. Specialty Accreditation: Focuses on specific departments or services, such as cardiology or oncology. Examples include the CoC for oncology and ACR for radiology.
  4. Programmatic Accreditation: Targets specific programs within hospitals, like medical education or residency programs, such as ACGME for residency.
  5. Regional Accreditation: Operates across multiple countries within a region, like the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) in Europe.
  6. Voluntary Accreditation: Pursued in addition to mandatory accreditations from bodies that set high standards of care and excellence.
  7. Mandatory Accreditation: Required by law in some countries to ensure hospitals meet minimum standards for care and operations.

How Hospital Accreditation Started?

patient satisfaction

Accreditation was first introduced in the United States to improve the standard of quality in medical facilities and hospitals. The International Standards Organization (ISO) was established in 1947 and was first started in the US. Later, this accreditation model was used in Australia, Canada, and Europe. Gradually, the ISO accreditation programs were fast gaining acceptance across the globe in the 1990s.

The impact of general accreditation programs did increase the overall hospital performance. This enhancement came in seven vital indicators of quality such as patient satisfaction. Through various studies and research activities, it was also noted that there was a marked enhancement in the structure of the medical staff, physical facilities, and nursing staff.

The organization also scored higher on the Systematic Development Scale as well as on the Health Plan Employer Data and Information Set (HEDIS). Overall, the clinical care quality was significantly higher in accredited physicians when compared to those who were not.

In a major data analysis from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in the US, the patients who received treatment from accredited hospitals had a higher probability of receiving high-quality care from accredited health professionals as compared to the patients who were treated at non-accredited hospitals.

Also, upon analyzing massive data from ambulatory surgical centers in the United States, there was a marked reduction in sudden hospitalizations. Apart from that, the new infection control services (ICS) organizations were more in number. Accredited health organizations also received better satisfaction ratings when it came to surveys as compared to non-accredited ones.

Accreditation programs in the health sector enhance the process of care and the structure of the organization and better the clinical outcomes. There is enough evidence from various studies that determine the positive influence of accreditation on various clinical outcomes, which includes trauma, AMI management, infection control, surgical care, and pain management.

Benefits of an accredited hospital

high-quality facility

The accreditation process scrutinizes every possible detail of a hospital to ensure the desired quality standards are implemented. This goes for all medical and non-medical related items. The purpose of this process is so patients are guaranteed a safe, hygienic, and high-quality facility to seek medical care.

Accredited hospitals provide the obvious benefit of high-quality care for the patient. What most people do not know is that they also have advantages for the general public and the physicians working within the organization. 

Hospital Accreditation provides transparent data to patients

transparent data to patients

The outcome of various treatments within a hospital or clinic is the information that should be shared with the public. Usually, healthcare facilities are worried about their reputation and do not want to disclose any information that might put their organization in a negative light. 

However, accredited organizations can easily provide all the information a patient would require because they comply with all the safety and quality standards required of a superior facility.  They provide clear information about the success rates, possible treatment risks, and expected outcomes.

Hospital Accreditation Respects patients’ opinions


A factor that may attract individuals to an accredited organization is the importance they place on patients. An accredited hospital believes in the motto of patient-centered care and treats the patient as the most important stakeholder. In these facilities, open communication is encouraged between the patients and hospital staff (including the management).

Through the use of patient feedback, direct communication and customer surveys, these hospitals take the patient’s opinions extremely seriously and try to implement all their suggestions for improvement at the facility.

Besides listening to the patient’s needs, accredited hospitals encourage the patient to be part of the medical team. The physicians and other healthcare providers discuss with the patient their treatment options rather than just stamping them with a diagnosis and prescription. Getting the patient to be part of the medical team empowers the patient and ensures compliance from their end, which in turn enhances the course of treatment.

An accredited hospital improves public trust

quality care

By voluntarily signing up to undergo the scrutinizing procedure of receiving accreditation, the facility is demonstrating to the public and potential consumers their commitment to quality. 

Demonstrating their willingness to implement standards that are based on the utmost patient safety and a high level of quality care establishes trust within the community.  They then become the prime facilities for patients to seek care as individuals feel secure about entrusting their lives there.

Accredited Hospitals Ensure Continuous Staff Training and Education


Prior to accreditation regulations, staff members within a hospital just went about their daily routine of treating patients. However, in the dynamic landscape of medicine, new scientific discoveries are being revealed every day. A physician or nurse might be great at their job, but if they are not keeping up with the latest technology or implementing the newest protocols, then they are not providing their patients with the highest level of quality care.

Accredited organizations emphasize continuous improvement where staff members are constantly trained and educated about the latest advances relevant to their field. Through conferences and workshops, medical professionals can utilize the new information to better their practices. Besides just the latest advances, accreditation requires staff members to understand the management of hazardous materials. This is a focus that falls under facility management and safety, which again is important for pat ient safety and satisfaction.

Hospital Accreditation creates a culture of learning and sharing

doctor's discussion

Accredited hospitals aim to create a culture where information is shared throughout the facility and knowledge is imparted. If physicians or other healthcare providers make a mistake, they are required to report it immediately instead of covering it up. Once this culture is appropriately implemented, there will be no secrets and surprises, as every error made is immediately cleared up and steps are taken to learn from these mistakes.

This will in turn enhance the safety of the organization as all adverse events will be dealt with as soon as they happen. These new safety regulations will in turn benefit the patient as you can be assured that you are seeking care from an organization that takes the issue of patient safety and security very seriously.

Importance of an accredited hospital


Now that you understand what the accreditation process is all about, and a few of the benefits of seeking care at an accredited hospital, it is helpful if you recognize the advantages an accredited institution provides in comparison to a non-accredited facility.

The process of accreditation helps the facility and its medical staff in effectively organizing the practices within the hospital and provides a platform for new initiatives to be undertaken. However, instead of harping on about the benefits and advantages, we have compiled a few examples that truly demonstrate the efficiency and advanced quality of an accredited hospital.

All the examples provided highlight how the quality of care essentially improves patient satisfaction, which is the ultimate goal of any medical facility. If the protocols are well-understood by the staff through appropriate training and education and patients’ rights and responsibilities are respected, it is only expected that a patient will have a good experience at the hospital, resulting in improved health and happiness.

How a patient can evaluate the quality of a hospital (especially a non-accredited hospital)


The purpose of this chapter in Dr. Prem’s Guidebook is to guide patients about the importance and benefits of seeking care at an established and accredited hospital. This is not to say that non-accredited hospitals necessarily have a lower quality of care. Even if the healthcare facility you are thinking of seeking medical care has not been accredited by an international body, then there are certain criteria that a patient can use to evaluate whether the hospital you are researching demonstrates a high level of quality or not.

Here are the 10 factors we suggest you look for when seeking a high-quality facility.

  1.   Whether they are affiliated with an esteemed international association. This shows their commitment to maintaining international standards of quality care for their patients
  2.   The amount of communication efforts the hospital invests with their patients. This includes interacting with the patient for informational purposes, preparation arrangements, and once the treatment has been completed.
  3.   The healthcare provider’s commitment to continuous improvement, and the culture of sharing within the organization.
  4.   This could be through feedback and satisfaction forms.
  5.   The facility should offer each patient personalized and individualized care. Each patient should feel that they get enough time to interact with the healthcare providers (especially their treating physicians). Also, the course of treatment should be specific for each patient taking into account their needs and condition. Additionally, the hospital should boast a high nurse: patient ratio so the patient is under constant medical attention.
  6.   The track record of infection control within the facility. Remember, accredited hospitals and those operating at a high quality should have a marginal error rate when it comes to infection control. The protocols should be so firmly in place that there is no room for mistakes.
  7.   The overall outcomes and success rates of the treatments conducted within the hospital. Also, the data should be made available clearly and understandably to the patient. Transparency is crucial for every hospital, and patients should not take this point lightly.
  8.   A comprehensive system that deals with complaints and suggestions from patients in an appropriate manner. The system should work in such a way that these complaints are taken seriously and a change is implemented as soon as possible. Also, there should be necessary compensation from the facility in case there have been any malpractice issues.
  9.   The location of the facility should be in a safe and secure area so that the patient only has to focus on getting treatment at the hospital, and not about the crime rate or poverty in the surrounding environment.
  10.   The facility itself should encourage a healing atmosphere through the use of natural light and greenery.

Challenges in Hospital Accreditation


Hospital accreditation is a rigorous process that ensures healthcare facilities meet high quality and safety standards. However, it comes with several challenges:

  • Resource Intensive: The accreditation process requires significant financial and human resources, which can strain hospital budgets and staff workloads.
  • Complexity of Standards: The detailed and often complex standards can be difficult for hospitals to interpret and implement consistently across all departments.
  • Sustaining Improvements: Maintaining accreditation requires continuous improvement and regular audits, which can be challenging to sustain over the long term.
  • Resistance to Change: Staff may resist changes needed to comply with accreditation standards, requiring effective change management and communication strategies.
  • Balancing Priorities: Hospitals must balance the demands of accreditation with day-to-day patient care, which can sometimes lead to conflicts in priorities and resource allocation.

Hospital Accreditation examples from around the world


Each region around the world will have a different method and diverse processes to implement accreditation policies in their facility. The U.S. has very strict accreditation regulations with the majority of hospitals being accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO —a private non-profit organization). JCAHO has accredited 17,000 healthcare organizations and programs which shows how committed the facilities are to providing quality care for their patients.

A few European countries namely France, Belgium, and Scotland have accreditation programs that are implemented by government officials to ensure quality standards are being met. France has been ranked by the WHO as having the best healthcare system in the world and has a high rate of patient satisfaction. France has ‘La Haute Autorite de Sante’ which is the local governmental accreditation body.

The UK operates an effective system of healthcare facility accreditation via the Healthcare Accreditation and Quality Unit (HAQU), which was previously referred to as the Health Quality Service. This accrediting body specializes in the administration of healthcare organizations and implements appropriate regulations for its effective management.

South Africa has contracted with the Council for Health Service Accreditation of Southern Africa, a non-profit organization that implements the accreditation policies in the nation. The cost of the accreditation is borne by the region in which the facility is located which makes the process of accreditation appealing to hospitals. Canada has implemented a similar procedure with the government contracting with Accreditation Canada which is an independent body that operates like JCI.

India, which has catapulted to be one of the most popular medical tourism destinations, has its own accreditation body known as the National Accreditation Board for Hospital and Healthcare Providers. It falls under the umbrella of the Quality Council of India which has been established to benchmark the quality of healthcare standards within India.

Enhancing Patient Care through Expert Training and Capacity Building- Connect with Dr.Prem

Connect with Dr.PremWhile hospital accreditation can be complex and costly, expert training and capacity building offer a viable alternative to ensure top-quality patient-centric care. Hospitals can invest in comprehensive training programs led by experienced healthcare professionals to elevate the skills and knowledge of their staff. 

These programs focus on best practices, patient safety, and efficient healthcare delivery, fostering a culture of continuous improvement. By prioritizing capacity building, hospitals can implement standardized procedures and protocols that mirror those required for accreditation. 

Expert-led training ensures that healthcare providers are well-equipped to deliver high-quality care, maintain hygiene standards, and enhance patient outcomes. Consequently, hospitals can achieve excellence in patient care and operational efficiency without formal accreditation, ensuring cost-effective and quality processes.

Dr. Prem Jagyasi, a global authority in healthcare consultancy spanning 70+ countries can help you to establish quality benchmarks in healthcare services through structured training and guidance. Connect with Dr. Prem to elevate your facility’s service standard attractive for global patients.

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