Sarah Boucaud is our outreach assistant and is spending the summer at Accreditation Canada as part of her residency for the Masters of Health Administration program at Dalhousie.
I believe this organization and the role of accreditation are extremely important in ensuring quality care and patient safety in always changing and complex health care systems.
Working at the Global Health Office (GHO) this past academic year, I’ve heard about and been in awe of the many unique opportunities Dalhousie, and the GHO in particular, offers its health professional students. These experiences allow us to gain valuable hands-on experience in a variety of settings, both at home and abroad. I am no exception this summer, since I am doing a residency at Accreditation Canada as part of my Masters of Health Administration. While I am not working within a limited resource setting or in a new environment far from home, I find it absolutely remarkable what Accreditation Canada does in terms of promoting patient safety and quality care both nationally and internationally. Not to mention that my first three weeks here have certainly been an adventure in their own right! I would like to share a bit more about this organization with the global health community and future health care professionals like yourselves, because I believe this organization and the role of accreditation are extremely important in ensuring quality care and patient safety in always changing and complex health care systems.
Independent and not-for-profit, Accreditation Canada (http://accreditation.ca/) has been promoting health quality through accreditation since 1958. How is this done? Accreditation Canada supports health care organizations in a continuous quality improvement process. Organizations are evaluated on a four-year cycle using standards developed based on research, best practices, and consultation. Peer reviewers, called surveyors, conduct these on-site evaluations. The results are evaluated by Accreditation Canada, who renders a decision as to whether or not the organization becomes accredited, and which level of accreditation it receives. What’s more important is that the results identify strengths and areas for improvement. These are provided to the organization to inform action plans and quality improvement initiatives. Accreditation Canada International (ACI) provides similar services abroad (http://www.internationalaccreditation.ca/en/home.aspx).
This type of process puts Accreditation Canada in a unique position to work on the standardization of care throughout the health care system. Accreditation Canada promotes the attainment of high quality standards in all health care organizations with which it works. This organization also takes continual improvement and knowledge translation to heart, keeping up with emerging evidence, and educating its clients and training its surveyors.
Accreditation Canada works with all types of health care organizations: hospitals, clinics, community health centres, emergency health services, and long-term care homes, to name a few. Over 5,700 sites and services have been accredited by Accreditation Canada. Accreditation can be seen as a systematic approach that looks at improving quality of care and patient safety within complex and continually changing health care systems.
We look forward to having Sarah back in September to share more of her experiences with us.