Healthcare accreditation: What it entails and why it is valuable
- Written by Amy Dinsmore
- February 2 2016
Accreditation can be a daunting matter, but there is no reason why its challenging nature should get in your way. Hospitals and other healthcare organizations can use accreditation as a prime value creation tool. The key is to support the process with accreditation management software that will streamline internal analysis and make it easier for you to hold up to scrutiny.
What accreditation usually entails
There are a wide array of accreditors in the healthcare sector, with many of them focusing on specific areas of emphasis – such as ambulatory care. However, the accreditation process is fairly standard across these bodies. It usually includes some combination of the following:
- Third-party specialists visit your facility.
- Those experts will observe operations, interview staff and analyze your processes.
- They will assess your policies and internal compliance.
- Accreditors will report on what went well and where you can improve.
- The process will repeat itself on a prescribed basis to maintain the accreditation.
This degree of scrutiny can lead to worries that your weaknesses as an organization will be exposed. However, self-auditing prior to an accreditation can put you on the path toward success. Document management software lets you analyze your policies, training methodologies and processes to ensure you are ready for accreditation.
Why accreditation matters
The idea of voluntarily undergoing close evaluation by a third party may come across as counterintuitive, but the reality is that accreditation delivers meaningful value for healthcare organizations. These returns are visible in:
- An improved reputation in the community.
- Protection against litigation.
- Recognition as a leader in your industry.
- Affirmation that your hospital is prepared to meet industry demands.
- Accountability to improve continually as an organization.
These value points come together to present healthcare companies a unique opportunity to advance itself in diverse ways. Be it improving marketing in the community, getting administrators highlighted as leaders in the industry or ensuring your staff is prepared to handle any situation, the operational gains created by accreditation are invaluable.
Knowing yourself is vital if you want to invite an accrediting body into your hospital. If you are sure that your policies cover all necessary contingencies and that your staff is trained properly, you can be confident that an accreditation will go at least fairly well. Document management software provides vital visibility into policy compliance, giving you a cost-effective tool that lets you maximize the value of accreditation efforts.