It’s a process that every hospital goes through and it’s something most people, including those new to healthcare, know nothing about.

Accreditation means we are held accountable as professionals to ensure that the quality of care a patient receives while they are in this hospital is better than average,” says Christina Wright, Accreditation Coordinator for Markham Stouffville Hospital (MSH).

Hospitals across Canada go through the accreditation process on average every four years. The process is administered by Accreditation Canada (AC), a not-for-profit organization that works to improve the quality of health and social services for everyone. Hospitals are measured against set standards, which have been developed by Accreditation Canada and the Ontario Hospital Association.

MSH is on a constant journey to continually improve.

“They work together to establish the standards and expectations of services that are considered required. The foundational stuff of healthcare,” says Wright.

It’s Christina’s role and responsibility to ensure the organization is ready for accreditation. However, one of the biggest challenges for MSH is that it has been five years since it was last surveyed by AC.

“Accreditation usually occurs every four years. We were asked by AC to defer our accreditation for an extra year and we agreed. However, with that extra year came a set of new standards which has meant enhanced efforts have been required,” says Wright.

Earlier this year MSH participated in a mock accreditation exercise, which is a common practice and used to help organizations identify areas for improvement before the actual accreditation process. The mock survey identified a number of places throughout the organization where opportunities for improvements could be made.

“MSH is on a constant journey to continually improve. Staff, physicians and volunteers are never satisfied with status quo. That’s the one thing about this organization that I’ve come to understand – it’s never good enough,” says Wright.

The accreditation process gives healthcare a very different perspective. It allows people to come from outside the hospital to see all the great things that might not be happening at other hospitals. It’s a great way for front line staff to showcase their hard work, dedication and for the organization to learn and grow.

With under a month until the surveyors arrive on site, Wright is optimistic about how MSH will perform.

“We are striving for the best possible result. A tremendous amount of work has occurred in the last three months and it has been phenomenal. It’s to the point where I can sit and think we are reaching the level I knew we were capable of achieving,” says Wright.

MSH will be taking part in accreditation from September 24 – 27, 2018.