Simply put, accreditation is value. Reaching into our public, private, and professional lives, accreditation is proof that the organization has met certain standards necessary to maintain in that field.
Accreditation provides an opportunity for academic institutions to demonstrate they are committed to maintaining their programs' quality and that their programs are performing at the level required by the professions they serve. Programs undergo periodic accreditation to ensure that they continue to meet quality standards set by the profession. The result provides lasting benefits to students, the institution, employers, the professions, and society as a whole.
Students who graduate from accredited programs have access to enhanced opportunities in employment; licensure, registration and certification; graduate education and global mobility.
Hospital accreditation has been defined as “A self-assessment and external peer assessment process used by health care organizations to accurately assess their level of performance in relation to established standards and to implement ways to continuously improve”.
Critically, accreditation is not just about standard-setting: there are analytical, counseling and self-improvement dimensions to the process. There are parallel issues around evidence-based medicine, quality assurance and medical ethics (see below), and the reduction of medical error is a key role of the accreditation process. Hospital accreditation is therefore one component in the maintenance of patient safety. However, there is limited and contested evidence supporting the effectiveness of accreditation programs
Laboratory accreditation provides formal recognition to competent laboratories, thus providing a ready means for customers to identify and select reliable testing, measurement and calibration services. To maintain this recognition, laboratories are re-evaluated regularly by the accreditation body to ensure their continued compliance with requirements, and to check that their standard of operation is being maintained.
The laboratory is also required to participate in relevant proficiency testing programs between reassessments, as a further demonstration of technical competence.
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