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What are the principles of accreditation in hospitals? And what are the anticipated benefits?

The hospital’s achievement of an accreditation certificate contributes to highlighting excellence in health services and safe, effective care provided to patients. This environment aids in improving patient safety on one hand, and enhancing the proficiency of the medical team and healthcare providers on the other, ensuring they remain abreast of all new developments in healthcare.

Today, with the enormous investments being made in the health sector, there is increasing demand to improve the quality of service provided in hospitals, in turn raising public expectations on the importance of controlling the quality of hospital services and ways to enhance them. Obtaining an accreditation certificate from a reputable entity is one of the initial steps towards achieving this goal.

Recent studies have proven a solid correlation between hospital accreditation programs and improved health services they provide. Today, hospital accreditation has become a fundamental requirement for all healthcare facilities aspiring to keep up with developments and provide efficiency, quality, and safety in healthcare services for patients.

Accreditation, therefore, is an internationally recognized evaluation process used to assess the healthcare facility and grant it a certificate verifying the efficiency of its operations, with the stipulation that it will be re-evaluated and updated within regular timeframes to ensure continuous quality improvement and enhancement. Every hospital strives to provide an outstanding team of experienced healthcare providers trained to deliver evidence-based necessary medical care, with strict adherence to international treatment protocols. Accreditation helps any hospital or health facility to enhance patient care in a continuous process to improve quality programs in a way that meets, and possibly exceeds, patient expectations.

Self and external evaluation

Hospital accreditation in this era has become an essential part of the continuous development journey, confirming its commitment to patient care, promoting a culture of safety and quality, and striving towards continuous improvement. Even though every facility or hospital has its own set of internal standards and rules for operations, obtaining an accreditation certificate ensures that it meets the characteristics and standards set by a recognized external organization.

Accreditation is regarded as a multi-step process, starting with a self-assessment by the institution, followed by an external assessment by independent experts, in order to reach a final decision based on internationally accepted quality assessment standards. This ensures alignment with scientific advancements in the fields of specifications, standards, conformity assessment, and laboratory accreditation. Once these standards have been met and high levels of excellence in policies and procedures have been achieved, the organization is then granted the prestigious international certification.

The required specifications should be clear enough to enable hospitals to understand the objectives of the standards and the evidence needed to demonstrate their compliance. In this context, the accreditation organization can provide guidance in detailed complementary guidelines, such as training courses for staff and healthcare providers focusing on patient safety and continual quality improvement, in addition to addressing dynamic changes in the healthcare environment.

Therefore, quality standards in hospitals and health facilities act as a common language on a local and international level to define quality and establish safety foundations for the service provided. Hospitals set specific standards and constantly work on developing them, showing a commitment to applying the highest quality standards in healthcare by all stakeholders within the work environment.

Principles and Standards

Patient safety remains the highest goal that every hospital strives to achieve, through the application of measures and procedures to protect the patient from any medical errors or negative outcomes while receiving necessary healthcare services.

Key principles and standards that health facilities strive to achieve in their journey to obtain accreditation include providing health services at a distinguished level of quality for the satisfaction of patients, continuously improving these services, exceeding their needs, and utilizing human and material resources to reach the desired goal.

To achieve this desired goal, relevant entities have set strict and disciplined specifications and standards for healthcare quality management. These focus on delivering the best healthcare with the ultimate levels of patient safety and satisfaction.

Long-term expectations involve improving patient care and safety by gaining the necessary expertise, improving outcomes, service quality, and identifying and applying ethical principles during patient care.

The accreditation certificate plays a vital role in enhancing patient care, being a continuous process of quality improvement. Today, many specialized accreditation programs are available for hospitals to ensure a high level of quality in their services.

These accreditations also provide tangible evidence of a hospital’s commitment to improving the quality of care provided to patients, ensuring a safe environment, and continuously working to minimize any possible risks faced by patients or staff. Healthcare facility accreditation standards have been established based on the principle of continuous improvement to enhance the quality of care.

A group of international experts teach the accreditation programs that must be followed to obtain certification through workshops, training programs, social activities, and more. Then, the work within the hospital environment across its different departments is tracked, the provided service is evaluated, and efforts to improve quality are examined. Accreditation aids the hospital in enhancing patient care as a continuous process of quality improvement.

According to the World Health Organization, maintaining health and improving the quality of medical services contribute to reducing mortality rates. To achieve this desired goal, healthcare services should be safe, effective, delivered in a timely manner, and efficiently carried out.

The main principles adopted in hospitals include the following

  • Providing healthcare in a way that minimizes risks, medical errors, and potential harm to patients.
  • Delivering healthcare services in a timely manner, reducing waiting and delay periods which have negative effects on the patient’s health.
  • Offering healthcare to all patients fairly and without any discrimination, regardless of the patient’s social status, gender, ethnicity, geographical location, economic condition, among other characteristics; healthcare should be delivered with the same competence to all patients without exception.
  • Keeping up with developments and continuously improving the services offered to patients, exceeding their expectations.

Benefits and Advantages

Obtaining an internationally recognized accreditation certificate is a tangible proof of an institution’s commitment to improving the quality of care provided to patients, ensuring a safe environment, and continuously working to reduce any potential risks that patients or staff may encounter. The hospital gains the trust of patients and the community in the healthcare they will receive when needed; it becomes evident to them that this hospital is persistently striving to provide the highest quality, most accurate, and modern medical services as long as it continues to receive accreditation. The community has become well aware of the importance of a hospital achieving international accreditation and the continuous effort it puts in maintaining this accreditation, which reflects through the services offered to patients.

 One of the benefits of obtaining an international accreditation certificate also includes improving efficiency and operational processes. Healthcare accreditation can help healthcare facilities undergo strategic transformations, as most standards provide a framework to assist in establishing a better operational system to achieve operational excellence. Reducing medical errors and preventing them from occurring, as preparing for accreditation requires a comprehensive review of how each department works with ultimate precision, allowing the identification of fault lines and gaps that are most vulnerable to risk, then working to reinforce them with continuous monitoring to ensure no errors occur. In this way, the hospital benefits from improving the level of medical service during its preparation period to obtain accreditation. One of the most prominent benefits of accreditation is gaining a competitive advantage, as hospitals strive to showcase their best to be the first choice for patients. With the hospital obtaining an internationally recognized accreditation certificate, this opens up prospects for new partnerships to attract external competencies, in addition to striving to provide the latest technologies and medical devices. Policies and procedures change to steer towards the better and higher quality.

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