Assessing the value of accreditation to health systems and organisations

Despite accreditation processes being embedded in health systems across more than 70 countries around the world, the actual value of accreditation to health care organisations is not well understood; and more work is needed to determine its value and how to measure it.

What is the value of accreditation?

Accreditation is often viewed as a costly, time-consuming bureaucratic burden that adds little value in terms of patient care. Yet accreditation has also been found to be positively associated with high-quality care, high patient satisfaction and good outcomes. This means that accreditation processes could be used to develop and support a culture of safety and quality among health workers. Particularly when staff are aware of its purpose and are involved in the accreditation process.

Measuring value in health care

Our latest health policy evidence brief from the Deeble Institute for Health Policy Research, Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association, assesses the value of accreditation to health service organisations against the health care quadruple aims of:

  • Improving the patient experience of care (including quality and satisfaction)
  • Improving the health of populations
  • Reducing the per capita cost of health care
  • Meaning in work

Findings from the brief advocate for a research-based approach to developing a common narrative on what constitutes value, so that value relating to interventions such as accreditation can be more appropriately assessed.

Where do we go from here?

A 2018 review by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) has resulted in revisions to the assessment process, the assessment team, use of data, regulatory oversight, communication of assessment outcomes, and resources and support for health services.

The changes will be phased in from January 2019, and it will be interesting to see a formal evaluation of the results further down the track.

Dr Rebecca Haddock

Director Deeble Institute for Health Policy Research
Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association

Mr Nigel Harding

Public Affairs Manager
Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association