Term: Accreditation

It is a type of quality assurance process under which a facility's or institution's services and operations are examined by a third-party accrediting agency to determine if applicable standards are met. If the facility meets the standards of the accrediting agency, the facility receives accredited status.

The Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) sets standards for healthcare organizations and issues accreditation to organizations that meet those standards. JCAHO conducts periodic on-site surveys to verify that "an accredited organization substantially complies with Joint Commission standards and continuously makes efforts to improve the care and services it provides."

When performing the accreditation process, the agent starts with the actual language of the JCAHO Element of Performance. Next comes a series of statements that prove that the organization in question is complying with the standard, or proof that the organization is improving its practices. Where appropriate, the guide provides links, tips and tools that lay out specific management practices, materials, regulatory requirements, and facility infrastructure relevant to that EP.
Each page is organized using the following symbols to denote the type of information available for each standard or Element of Performance:
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Evidence of Standards Compliance. These are statements and direct links* to applicable federal environmental and workplace regulations.
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Evidence of Environmental Improvement. These performance improvement initiatives go beyond what is absolutely required, but typically ease the burden of compliance, often save money, and satisfy JCAHO’s accreditation requirements.
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A recommended set of Tools and Resources that may be particularly helpful for those looking for additional information on specific topics, sample policies, or guidance on how to deal with a particular problem.

Web Resources:
What is JCAHO?

Related Terminology:
Accrediting agencies