Accreditation is recognized as one of the most effective ways for health services organizations to systematically examine and improve the quality of their services. "Provided certain conditions are met, an accreditation program can be a complete strategic framework for an organization to change and learn" (Lanteigne 2008).
While more empirical research on the benefits of accreditation is required, known benefits and positive impacts include enhanced quality and patient safety within the accredited organization, sustained quality improvement, strengthened communication with internal and external stakeholders, increased effective risk management, enhanced focus on the continuum of care/service, capacity building and organizational learning, stronger interdisciplinary team effectiveness, demonstrated organizational commitment to quality and accountability and an impetus for change and its effective management.
Accreditation Canada released the Qmentum accreditation program in February 2008. This article outlines the progress made during the first year of implementation, discusses the current challenges and provides insight into what lies ahead. The assessment presented in this article is limited because only the first year of the full three-year accreditation cycle has been completed. Full appreciation of Qmentum will be evident with the completion of the three-year cycle and movement into the second three-year cycle.
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