The perceptions of healthcare professionals about accreditation and its impact on quality of healthcare in Kuwait: a qualitative study

J Eval Clin Pract. 2021 Mar 22. doi: 10.1111/jep.13557. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Rationale, aims, and objectives: The accreditation of healthcare organizations has been applied as a quality assurance mechanism of healthcare services. Kuwait health authorities implemented a national healthcare accreditation program at the governmental healthcare system. This study aimed to explore the perceptions of healthcare professionals (HCPs) about healthcare accreditation, perceived challenges to implementing accreditation, and views on how to overcome these challenges.

Methods: A phenomenological qualitative framework was adopted to conduct focus group interviews to explore perceptions of HCPs about accreditation in governmental healthcare system. Data were collected from 30 HCPs using seven focus group interviews. The verbatim transcripts of the interviews were analysed using the framework approach.

Results: The HCPs indicated that accreditation enhanced patient safety culture at their organizations through staff adherence to good practices, improved documentation and patient handover practices, and incident reporting. The facilitators to the implementation of accreditation that emerged from interviews included administrative support, staff training about accreditation, and expansion in application of electronic systems. Participants reported several challenges to implementing accreditation including challenges related to staff (eg, high workload, burdens imposed by accreditation requirements), challenges related to organizational system and resources (eg, poor teamwork among HCPs, inadequate infrastructure in some facilities), and challenges related to patients (eg, poor understanding about accreditation). However, most participants expressed positive attitudes towards accreditation and appreciated its impact on quality of healthcare. Participants suggested ways to support accreditation such as increasing staff numbers to reduce workload, enhancing staff motivation and education about accreditation, developing proactive leadership and staff teamwork, and improving patients' awareness about accreditation.

Conclusions: HCPs in Kuwait expressed positive attitudes towards accreditation while also recognizing the challenges that may hinder its implementation. The collaboration between different stakeholders in this process is essential to overcome these challenges and support HCPs to meet accreditation standards and improve quality of healthcare services.

Keywords: Kuwait; accreditation; healthcare; healthcare quality improvement; patient safety.