Our history

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1917

The American College of Surgeons (ACS), of which Canada is an active member, begins developing a hospital standardization program. The first Minimum Standard for Hospitals is developed and the requirements fill just one page.

1918

The ACS begins on-site inspections of hospitals. Only 89 of 692 hospitals surveyed meet the requirements of the Minimum Standard.

1926

The first Standards Manual is printed and consists of 18 pages.

1951

The accreditation program becomes too large and complex for one organization to administer. The American College of Physicians, the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, and the Canadian Medical Association join with the ACS to create the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals (JCAH). It is an independent, not-for-profit organization whose purpose is to provide voluntary accreditation. Responsibility for the hospital standardization program is formally transferred to JCAH on December 6, 1952.

1953

The Canadian Hospital Association (now HealthCareCAN), the Canadian Medical Association, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, and l'Association des médecins de langue française du Canada, establish the Canadian Commission on Hospital Accreditation. The commission's purpose is to create a Canadian program for hospital accreditation.

1958

The Commission realizes its goal with the incorporation of the Canadian Council on Hospital Accreditation. The Council's purpose is to set standards for Canadian hospitals and evaluate their compliance. The accreditation program is voluntary, free from government intervention, national, bilingual, and not-for-profit.

1960-1988

The accreditation program continues to grow in popularity. In 1960, there are less than 350 accredited hospitals in Canada. By the end of 1980 there are 850, and in 1988 the number of accredited facilities approaches 1,300.

1963

Accreditation of smaller and special hospitals begins.

1964

Accreditation of mental health hospitals begins.

1978

Accreditation of long-term care centres begins.

1980

The Canadian Long Term Care Association (now the Canadian Alliance for Long Term Care) joins the Council's Board of Directors.

1981

Hospital administrators join physicians and nurses as surveyors.

1985

The accreditation of rehabilitation facilities begins.

1988

The Council changes its name to the Canadian Council on Health Facilities Accreditation (CCHFA) in time to celebrate its 30th anniversary.

1990

Standards documents are revised to focus on structure and process, and begin to look at outcomes.

1992

The Council's Board of Directors expands to include representatives from the Association of Canadian Teaching Hospitals, the College of Family Physicians of Canada, the Canadian College of Health Service Executives (now the Canadian College of Health Leaders), and a consumer representative.

1995

To more accurately reflect its clients and customers, the Council changes its name to the Canadian Council on Health Services Accreditation (CCHSA). The client-centered accreditation program is launched. This revised accreditation program focuses on an organization's patient care processes. The philosophy of continuously improving the quality of care and service is also incorporated and organizations are asked to begin developing and using performance indicators.

1996

The accreditation of home care services gets underway.

1997

Work on The AIM Project (Achieving Improved Measurement) begins. This project, to be launched in 2000, sees the accreditation program revised to emphasize better measurement.

1998

Council is surveyed by international accrediting organizations. A new team is established to better serve Québec's specific needs. A draft accreditation program is developed for Acquired Brain Injury Services and the first pilot test organization has its survey. A draft accreditation program is developed for First Nations and Inuit Substance Abuse Services. Draft standard for the AIM project is prepared and ready for phase 1 pilot testing. The Board of Directors decides to move to a policy governance model.

1999

Phase 1 and phase 2 of AIM pilot testing is completed. Pilot testing for six acute indicators is completed. First Nations and Inuit Substance Abuse Services draft standards are approved and five pilot organizations are surveyed. Medical Services Branch of Health Canada agrees to fund the launch and implementation of the program. Seven pilot surveys are completed for Acquired Brain Injury.

2000

A new logo and corporate identity is unveiled. International Services (now CCHSA International) is launched to service clients outside of Canada.

2001

Continued advancements are made in the use of technology as we move towards automation of our Accreditation Program. The one-stop customer service model is introduced which sees the implementation of Accreditation Specialists to assist health service organizations. There is continued development of new standards and programs for a number of markets.

2002

A series of regional Surveyors’ Conferences are held in locations across the country. A separate Education Development arm is implemented and work in this area has intensified. Work towards a pilot comparative report is initiated. CCHSA undergoes its own accreditation survey through ISQua.

2003

Rating scale definitions are improved to ensure they are clear and consistent in their interpretation. Recognition Guidelines are modified to include a new conditional level – Accreditation with Report and Focused Visit. The Board of Directors completes a three-year plan that identifies four key directions the CCHSA will need to consider over the next three years: strategic positioning/national recognition, accreditation program improvements, human resources, and information management systems

2004

Conference Board of Canada presents CCHSA with national award for governance for the not-for-profit sector. A highly successful Surveyors’ Conference is held in Ottawa.

2005

Work begins on developing the new Accreditation Program.

2006

CCHSA introduces new standards on Child Welfare, Hospice Palliative and End-of-Life Care, Biomedical Laboratory Services, and supplementary criteria for Telehealth. CCHSA successfully undergoes its third ISQua survey.

2007

Three hundred and seventy surveyors participate in the National Surveyors’ Conference in Ottawa. CCHSA opens offices in Edmonton and Montreal. Thirty-one organizations in more than a dozen countries participate in CCHSA International’s program. CCHSA signs a partnership agreement with the Conseil Québécois d’Agrément (CQA) to provide specialized accreditation in Quebec.

2008

The new Qmentum Accreditation Program with its enhanced focus on quality improvement and patient safety is launched. CCHSA becomes Accreditation Canada. Although the name is new, the commitment to a rigorous, comprehensive, and consultative approach to driving quality health services through accreditation remains unchanged.

2009

New Required Organizational Practices come into effect for restricting the use of dangerous abbreviations, heparin safety, narcotics safety, hand hygiene audit, pressure ulcer prevention, and suicide prevention. Accreditation Canada presents Ethics in Health Care, a national conference showcasing tools and strategies organizations need to deal with sensitive ethical issues that arise in health care. A five-year agreement is signed with CSA Standards to ensure continued collaboration on initiatives including reprocessing and sterilization, organ and tissue donation and transplant, and infection prevention and control. Accreditation Canada International pilot tests the new Qmentum International accreditation program, and pursues health care quality improvement initiatives in Costa Rica, Kuwait, Lebanon, Albania, and the United Arab Emirates.

2010

Accreditation Canada is recognized as a Top 25 Employer in the National Capital Region by the editors of Canada’s Top 100 Employers, an annual competition to recognize Canada's best places to work. Accreditation Canada undergoes its fourth ISQua survey, achieving three accreditation awards from ISQua — for the organization, the standards, and the surveyor training program. The doors of the new head office are officially opened with a celebration attended by clients, partners, staff, board members, and hundreds of surveyors who are in Ottawa to participate in the national surveyors’ conference. Qmentum International is launched. The first surveys using this new program tailored to international clients take place in St. Lucia and Saudi Arabia. New standards are introduced to the Qmentum program to support clients in a number of health care sectors, including organ and tissue donation, point-of-care testing, primary care, and home support services. Four new ROPs (which apply to surveys starting 2011) are added to Qmentum. The ROPs address workplace violence prevention, home safety risk assessment, safe surgery checklist, and venous thromboembolism (VTE) prophylaxis.

2011

The Qmentum program is thoroughly evaluated with feedback collected from key stakeholders, including client organizations, board members, surveyors, and staff. New standards are added to Qmentum to address the needs of client organizations in the areas of ambulatory systemic cancer therapy services, independent medical/surgical facilities, and community-based mental health services and supports. Four new ROPs come into effect: Workplace Violence Prevention, Home Safety Risk Assessment, Safe Surgery Checklist, and Venous Thromboembolism (VTE) Prophylaxis. A number of initiatives to strengthen surveyor support and effectiveness are introduced that include initiating the Surveyor Certification Program, strengthening the Maintenance of Currency program, and implementing a Surveyor Performance Feedback System. Using Accredimap, a new interactive tool that can be accessed through the website, the public is able to search for accredited health care organizations. For the second consecutive year, Accreditation Canada is recognized as a Top 25 Employer of the National Capital Region. 

2012

This year’s Canadian Health Accreditation Report—Emerging Risks, Focused Improvements—highlights the contribution of Required Organizational Practices (ROPs) to improving quality and patient safety. In collaboration with the Canadian Institute for Health Information, the Canadian Patient Safety Institute, and the Institute for Safe Medication Practices Canada, Accreditation Canada produces Medication Reconciliation in Canada: Raising the Bar, a report providing a new perspective on medication reconciliation across the continuum of care. Health professionals share new quality improvement initiatives at the first annual Accreditation Canada Quality Conference. More than 120 people participate in Accreditation Forum 2012: Making the Link to discuss current and emerging health care issues and their relationship to accreditation. The 2012-14 Patient Safety Strategy: Achieving Safe Care is released, describing the objectives and actions driving the evolution of Qmentum, and how Accreditation Canada will contribute to improving patient safety. A new ROP on Antimicrobial Stewardship and new standards for spinal cord injuries are released. Leadership, medication management, laboratory, transfusion, mental health, and emergency medical services standards are revised, with many tailored to meet the needs of specific groups, such as smaller organizations with a non-acute care focus. For the third year in a row, Accreditation Canada is recognized as a Top 25 Employer of the National Capital Region.

2013

Accreditation Canada launches a new website with a more contemporary look and feel. The second annual Quality Conference, Sustaining Success!, brings together more than 200 people from across the country to talk about implementing and sustaining quality improvement practices in health and social services organizations.  The Health Council of Canada choses Accreditation Canada’s Leading Practices Database as the new home for its Health Innovation Portal content. Advisory Services, an additional resource for clients, is introduced. This year’s Canadian Health Accreditation Report focuses on transitions of care and the critical role they play in safe and efficient health care. The Path to Accreditation, an online step-by-step resource to support Accreditation Coordinators is developed. Program updates include extending the Qmentum accreditation cycle from three to four years, revising standards and instruments, and adding new features to the on-site survey process to make the data richer and more relevant for our clients. For the fourth consecutive year, we are honoured to be selected as a Top 25 employer in the National Capital Region.

2014

Accreditation Canada works with partners from across Canada to strengthen content on client- and family- centred care (CFCC), resulting in a comprehensive shift in focus throughout the Qmentum accreditation program. CFCC elements are integrated throughout most of the standards with an eye to creating and nurturing mutually beneficial partnerships among the organization’s staff and their clients/patients/residents. Health care executives, managers, and frontline staff attend the 3rd annual Quality Conference in Gatineau, Québec, to learn about initiatives that positively impact health care and ways to sustain them. At the 2nd annual Accreditation Forum in Vancouver, B.C., participants share important lessons they’ve learned about quality improvement during their respective journeys. The International Society for Quality in Health Care (ISQua) surveys Accreditation Canada, recognizing key achievements since the 2010 survey, including moving the Qmentum program to a four-year cycle, initiating Accreditation Canada International, creating a Distinction program for trauma, and developing Advisory Services to help organizations advance their quality improvement programs. Accreditation Canada receives the Canadian Association of Paediatric Health Centres’ 2014 Citizenship Award for commitment to the health and well-being of Canada’s children and youth, and also celebrates a fifth consecutive year as one of the Top 25 Employers in the National Capital Region.  A more vibrant and modern brand is unveiled, one that promotes and celebrates the investment clients make in the accreditation process. Along with the new brand, a new tagline is presented that more clearly reflects Accreditation Canada’s mission, and what clients and surveyors work so hard to achieve every day—Better Quality. Better Health.