The 5 Top Benefits of Accreditation

October 3, 2019

Doctor shaking hands with a senior couple

Whether you are new to accreditation, or have started the process, it’s helpful to know what to expect and how your organization will benefit from being accredited. Here are five benefits of accreditation.

1-Accreditation improves patient outcomes and mitigates risks.

People understandably expect to receive high-quality, safe care when they need it. So how can accreditation help?

In 2011, Saudi researcher, Dr. Alkhenizan, looked at 26 studies about accreditation. He wanted to know whether it improved outcomes for specific health conditions. He found that general accreditation programs improve the quality of care and clinical outcomes for numerous conditions. There is also evidence that preventive protocols—like the kind we see in accreditation standards—reduce the risk of adverse events such as infections, bed sores, and prescribing omissions.

More broadly, standardization of health care practices, which can be achieved by participating in accreditation, results in better clinical outcomes and better treatment.

2-Accreditation identifies strengths and gaps in your programs and processes.

It’s important to know which programs and processes work and which ones don’t. That way, you can focus on what needs to be improved while keeping an eye on what works to make sure it keeps working in the future.

When proper programs and processes are missing, service can be slow or inaccurate, affecting how and when health care providers treat patients. In 2010, researchers published an article in the American Journal of Clinical Pathology that reviewed studies about accreditation’s effect on labs.
They found that accreditation reveals what’s missing from a lab’s programs and processes. Accreditation focuses attention on the areas of greatest need (for example, in the case of labs, the supply chain, training, instrument maintenance).

So if you want to identify gaps and work to fix them, use accreditation to measure your performance.

3-Accreditation promotes communication and staff empowerment across organizations.

Accreditation gives each person a better understanding of how they contribute to their organization’s mission.

It’s helpful to know the role each person plays on a team. When people and organizations communicate well, they can share best practices and find opportunities to make care better.

In studies on the perceptions of staff, providers feel that participating in accreditation provides an increased sense of community and concern for one another, and teamwork and productivity was felt to be improved. By all working toward the same standard, providers can relate to one another in more meaningful ways – by speaking the same language – and learn from each other’s experiences.

4-Accreditation fosters a culture of quality and safety.

Your organization’s culture matters. It helps determine how your staff approach their jobs. Are they motivated or disengaged? A culture that’s focused on quality and safety promotes an engaged atmosphere where communication and learning are key.

At an Australian teaching hospital, Greenfield et al. studied the experiences of 30 health executives, managers, and frontline clinicians involved in accreditation. They asked questions like, “What motivated you to engage in accreditation? What benefits did you get from participating in it?”

They found that when staff see the positive outcomes of a well-run accreditation process, they want to continue making improvements together. That’s what a positive culture of quality and safety looks like. Accreditation can help you get there.

5-Accreditation can decrease risks and liability costs.

Safer care means fewer risks and adverse events. The annual financial burden of adverse events in Canada is estimated at $397 million, with individual events, including hospital-acquired infections, costing between $4,000 and $13,000. Patient safety interventions, such as the ones required to achieve accreditation, can save more money in avoided adverse events than they cost.

In 2017, Williams et al. looked at 711 accredited long-term care homes in the United States. They studied a wide range of ratings including health inspections, staffing, inspection deficiencies, fines, and quality measures. They found that the 711 accredited facilities had a better performance on these measures, indicating that the accredited facilities exposed residents to fewer immediate risks.

Other financial benefits of accreditation that have been cited are improved operational efficiency and reduced liability cases. Accreditation tells insurers and the public that you value safety, that you’ve made a commitment to best practices and regulatory requirements.

Do you want to become accredited? Get in touch with us today and an accreditation specialist will help guide you along your own quality improvement journey.

You can also read more accreditation success stories on our website.