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Five Myths, Misconceptions, and Rumors about Accreditation

By Elizabeth Ziemba, JD, MPH, Director for Temos USA Regional Office and President of Medical Tourism Training, Inc.

Accreditation is a service that is widely misunderstood. As a representative of Temos International Healthcare Accreditation, I and my colleagues have heard a variety of myths, misconceptions, and unfounded rumors about what accreditation is and what it can do. Unfortunately, there are also some unethical behaviors that contribute to the confusion. It is important to separate fact from fiction.

Here are five of the most often heard and repeated fallacies about accreditation.

Myth #1: Accreditation is a fault-finding mission.

Myth: Healthcare providers can be a little afraid of accreditation, seeing it as a way to find things that are wrong. They labor under the misconception that assessors will walk through their hospitals or clinics pointing out every single thing that is wrong, real or imagined. It is perceived to be a fault-finding expedition that points fingers, lays blame, and imposes guilt on responsible parties.

Fact: Temos accreditation is a collaborative team-building process designed to guide organizations to become better at everything they do. Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI), patient safety, risk management, and an excellent patient experience are the four pillars of an excellent accreditation program.

Accreditation offers the best clinical and non-clinical practices to inspire hospitals and clinics to improve their systems and processes to benefit patients, staff, and the overall organization. The self-assessment component of accreditation breaks down barriers among departments to create a cohesive approach to service delivery, improving the patient experience as well as the bottom line. Assessors offer advice, share examples, support and coach clients to a higher level of excellence.

Fact: Working with an accreditation company that is right for you dispels this and other misconceptions about accreditation and engages you and your organization in a journey of Continuous Quality Improvement.

Myth #2: Accreditation is completing a To Do check list.

Myth: “The assessors will show up with a check list of items to make sure we have everything on the list. When we prove that we have everything on the list, we will get our accreditation.”

Fact: Accreditation is a holistic approach to ensuring that the systems and processes within a clinic or hospital are integrated and functioning optimally to maximize the benefits to patients, staff, and the organization itself. A check list approach simply cannot and does not work. For example, a check list approach wants to see that the hospital has fire extinguishers. An accreditation assessor will want to know if the fire extinguishers work, if people know where they are located, who knows how to operate them, and so on.

Myth #3: Accreditation automatically leads to more patients.

Myth: “My hospital or clinic should get accreditation because I want more patients. If I put the accreditation seal on the website and at the front door, more pati