According to the International Society for Quality in Healthcare, accreditation is a process "in which trained external peer reviewers evaluate a health care organization’s compliance with pre-established performance standards ... Unlike licensure, accreditation focuses on continuous improvement strategies and achievement of optimal quality standards, rather than adherence to minimal standards intended to assure public safety.” *
For JACIE, accreditation is the means by which a centre can demonstrate that it is performing to a required level of practice in accordance with agreed standards of excellence. Essentially it allows a centre to certify that it operates an effective quality management system. A quality management system is a mechanism to ensure that procedures are being carried out in line with agreed standards with full participation by all staff members. In a cell transplant programme, this ensures that the clinical, collection and laboratory units are all working together to achieve excellent communication, effective common work practices and increased guarantees for patients. It is a means of rapidly identifying errors or accidents and resolving them so that the possibility of repetition is minimised. It assists in training and clearly identifies the roles and responsibilities of all staff. Once the required level of quality has been achieved, the remaining challenge is to maintain this standard of practice. With a working quality management system in place and adequate resources, the fundamental elements necessary to sustain the programme are continued staff commitment and vigilance.
* Shaw CD. Toolkit for Accreditation Programs. The International Society for Quality In Health Care, Australia. 2004
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