Health service accreditation reinforces a mindset of high-performance human resource management: lessons from an Australian study

Int J Qual Health Care. 2014 Aug;26(4):372-7. doi: 10.1093/intqhc/mzu039. Epub 2014 Apr 15.


Objective: To investigate whether an accreditation program facilitates healthcare organizations (HCOs) to evolve and maintain high-performance human resource management (HRM) systems.

Design: Cross-sectional multimethod study.

Setting and participants: Healthcare organizations participating in the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards Evaluation and Quality Improvement Program (EQuIP 4) between 2007 and 2011.

Main outcome measures: Ratings across the EQuIP 4 HRM criteria, a clinical performance measure, surveyor reports (HRM information) and interview data (opinions and experiences regarding HRM and accreditation).

Results: Healthcare organizations identified as high performing on accreditation HRM criteria seek excellence primarily because of internal motivations linked to best practice. Participation in an accreditation program is a secondary and less significant influence. Notwithstanding, the accreditation program provides the HCO opportunity for internal and external review and assessment of their performance; the accreditation activities are reflective learning and feedback events.

Conclusions: This study reveals that HCOs that pursue highly performing HRM systems use participation in an accreditation program as an opportunity. Their organizational mindset is to use the program as a tool by which to reflect and obtain feedback on their performance so to maintain or improve their management of staff and delivery of care.

Keywords: HRM; accreditation; healthcare; research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accreditation / standards*
  • Australia
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Health Services Administration / standards*
  • Humans
  • Personnel Management / methods*
  • Personnel Management / standards*
  • Quality Improvement / organization & administration*
  • Quality Improvement / standards