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Accreditation Canada International ~ Raising the Bar for Quality Worldwide


In many quarters, medical tourism has not been granted the credibility it needs to achieve its potential or appease its detractors. This credibility must be earned by demonstrating an ability to successfully measure compliance with international and especially first-world standards of health care. Increasingly, international patients and their insurance companies are demanding that medical facilities carry international health care accreditation.

However, very few international accreditors possess the expertise required to provide a comprehensive assessment that addresses the complexities of a medical facility as well as the risk that is often inherent in treating international patients. In other words, all accrediting organizations are not created equal.

International Accreditation

The organization that “accredits the accreditors” is the International Society for Quality in Health Care (ISQua). In 2002, ISQua stated that “one-third of health care standards worldwide have taken their lead from Accreditation Canada.”

This leadership role may be one reason why private medical facilities and public health care systems worldwide are increasingly choosing the expertise of Accreditation Canada, the second oldest health care accreditor in the world. Client organizations – and their patients – also identify with Canada’s reputation as a quality-oriented, collaborative and multicultural society.

Accreditation Canada has been Canada’s leading national accrediting body for health and social service organizations since 1958. It is an independent, not-for-profit organization that accredits more than 4,000 health service organization sites in Canada and around the world.

Accreditation Canada International was created in 1998 to ensure the benefits of accreditation were accessible worldwide. To date, Accreditation Canada International has provided accreditation, advisory, and education services in France and Italy, whose health systems were ranked first and second in their health care delivery by the World Health Organization in 2000; other European countries such as England, Ireland, and Serbia; Gulf countries including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, and Bahrain; Latin American countries such as Costa Rica and Brazil; and many Caribbean nations.

Accreditation is a powerful strategic and operational change management tool that has the potential to bring about sustainable quality improvement. It sounds impressive but what is it? How does it work? Can an existing medical facility culture be enhanced through collaboration as well as checklists? And most importantly, how does accreditation contribute to better care?

The Benefits

Accreditation assesses the quality and safety of a service or program against established standards and criteria. Health care accreditation is an effective method for health organizations to consistently examine and improve their services and demonstrates a clear commitment to quality and safety. Client organizations that experience Accreditation Canada International’s programs report:

  • Safer patients and residents
  • More efficient service delivery
  • Stronger interdisciplinary teams
  • Better communication and collaboration with internal and external stakeholders
  • Appreciation of the flexible and culturally sensitive rather than prescriptive approach
  • Increased credibility and accountability with the public, investors, governments, and funding agencies
  • Cost savings from the implementation of efficiencies measures and reduction of medical errors

Providers also find it easier to promote and maintain a culture of quality improvement and safety through all levels of their organization.

Program Services

Accreditation Canada International’s client-centered programs find and foster competence and innovation. Through a rigorous process of self-assessment, on-site peer review, and follow-up recommendations, health organizations can focus on building their capacity to enhance performance measurement and management, risk prevention, client and patient safety, quality improvement, and governance. Accreditation provides a basis for objectively measuring, benchmarking and reporting on achievements and enhancing programs.

In addition to its accreditation program, Accreditation Canada International offers advisory and education services. Advisory services contribute to, for example, establishing and enhancing national accreditation programs and agencies and creating and solidifying health-related national and regional strategies and frameworks.

Advisory services also provide clinical and administrative expert advice to support health care organizations in their quest for excellence. Education helps client organizations understand accreditation and management-related concepts and approaches and prepare for the accreditation process. Education sessions are offered on a number of related topics, including change management, strategic planning, and leading the accreditation process.

Why Choose Accreditation Canada International?

Canadian values, confidence, experience, leadership and a direct relationship with the accrediting organization – third-party consultants are not used – are some of the reasons why people choose Accreditation Canada International.

Accreditation Canada International offers expert resources, reasonable pricing, and extensive experience with health system accreditation and accreditation agency and program design. Knowledge of the full spectrum of care allows it to develop increasingly specific programs and standards targeted to a wide range of health services, conditions, and diseases. Accreditation Canada’s standards of excellence address governance, leadership and service delivery in over 30 health and social service sectors.

Accreditation Canada has been fostering quality in health services across Canada and internationally for more than 50 years. With each passing year, as it continues to strengthen its knowledge base and expand its sphere of influence, it ultimately contributes to healthier people and communities.

And, demonstrating the same commitment to ongoing quality improvement that it expects of its client organizations, Accreditation Canada International is developing a new accreditation program for release in the first quarter of 2010. The new program will build on the foundation of excellence and innovation set by previous programs.

The time, commitment and resources that an organization invests in the accreditation process provide a significant return in promoting excellence, accountability, and the effective use of resources. Watch this column in the next issue for more information about how accreditation develops teamwork and communication, supports work-life values, measures performance, and mitigates risk.

Accreditation Canada at (+1) 613-738-3800 and visit the website at, or e-mail

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