Healthcare accreditation seeks to promote the organisational change in healthcare organisations from an approach that values the level of progress achieved through a validated reference framework. The aim of this paper is to analyse the role played by accreditation through the experience perceived by health professionals during the process of self-assessment and external evaluation, taking into account three dimensions of analysis: focus on the patient, internal organisation and leadership, and impact on the clinical aspectsof healthcare.
Semi-structured interviews with key informants from clinical management units (CMU) within the Andalusian Health System (Spain). Participants: The key informants in each CMU were the clinical leader, the head of nursing and two health professionals (doctors and nurses). A qualitative research protocol was employed to conduct the semi-structured interviews (n = 52 interviews) with physicians and nurses, in order to analyse their experience with the accreditation process.
The analysis identified four main outcomes related to the accreditation process perceived by professionals: (1) A benchmarking conceptualisation of the process; (2) Improvements in patient-centred care, quality of clinical records, and organisational culture of the units; (3) Improvement of patient safety culture; (4) As negative outcomes, a slight perception of bureaucratisation and standardisation of the clinical practice.
The described initiative of accreditation process in Andalusia (Spain) is widely perceived as positive by health professionals since it fosters the organisational change, although it also has a slightly negative bureaucratisation effect on clinical practice.