The Aboriginal Medical Service Alliance Northern Territory (AMSANT) in recognition of the importance of accreditation for Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs) have established an accreditation program with a designated accreditation officer. AMSANT is very proud of the fact that the majority of members have now achieved accreditation with some seeking dual accreditation for both clinical and organisational aspects of their services.
So what is Accreditation? By definition accreditation is the formal process in which certification of competency or credibility is achieved. In practice the accreditation of ACCHSs provides formal recognition and credit that quality standards, processes and systems are being maintained.
So what type of accreditation organisations and standards are available? Examples of such organisations and standards include the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) standards surveyed by Australian General Practise Accreditation Limited (AGPAL) or General Practice Australia Accreditation Plus (GPA+), the Quality Improvement Council (QIC), the Australian Council on Health Care Standards (ACHS) and the International Standardization Organisation (ISO).
So how does the process proceed? Accreditation for the ACCHS’s is currently voluntary and open to all ACCHSs. The process for achieving accreditation usually extends over a 2-3 year period and it is a continuing process. AMSANT’s accreditation member support officer is available to explain, assist and support ACCHSs throughout the entire accreditation process. This officer is Ken O’Brien and he is situated at AMSANT’s Darwin office.
Benefits of achieving Accreditation
The greatest benefit is that a successful accreditation program should ultimately result in improved health outcomes because such a program leads to performance improvement as well as continuous quality improvement.
Other advantages to accreditation would include the following:
- Formal recognition of the efforts and standards achieved.
- A verified demonstrated commitment by the organisation to continual improvement.
- Provides confidence to consumers and funders in the services provided by the accredited organisation.