Background and objective: Accreditation is usually a voluntary program in which trained external peer reviewers evaluate a healthcare organization's compliance and compare it with pre-established performance standards. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of accreditation programs on the quality of healthcare services
Methods: We did a systematic review of the literature to evaluate the impact of accreditation programs on the quality of healthcare services. Several databases were systematically searched, including Medline, Embase, Healthstar, and Cinhal.
Results: Twenty-six studies evaluating the impact of accreditation were identified. The majority of the studies showed general accreditation for acute myocardial infarction (AMI), trauma, ambulatory surgical care, infection control and pain management; and subspecialty accreditation programs to significantly improve the process of care provided by healthcare services by improving the structure and organization of healthcare facilities. Several studies showed that general accreditation programs significantly improve clinical outcomes and the quality of care of these clinical conditions and showed a significant positive impact of subspecialty accreditation programs in improving clinical outcomes in different subspecialties, including sleep medicine, chest pain management and trauma management.
Conclusions: There is consistent evidence that shows that accreditation programs improve the process of care provided by healthcare services. There is considerable evidence to show that accreditation programs improve clinical outcomes of a wide spectrum of clinical conditions. Accreditation programs should be supported as a tool to improve the quality of healthcare services.