Hospital accreditation and patient care, a dilemma?


Hospital accreditation ; patient knowledge ; patient perspective ; quality of care ; hospital choice

Published online: Sep 14 2021

Yves Fortems, Elke Van Eynde, Charlotte Fortems

GZA Ziekenhuizen, Antwerp, Belgium


Despite the massive financial and human efforts of hospitals in the Flemish part of Belgium to increase quality through the path of external accreditation, so far this has not convinced the end user, in casu the patient. In this study of 307 hospital patients we conclude that the knowledge about accreditation is very limited to none existent (2%) in a sample of Belgian patients not working in medical practice and that patients do not choose their hospital care in accordance to the accreditation status of the hospital. We remain convinced that improving quality is a continuous concern for medical professionals and hospital management. However, we believe that patients, medical professionals and hospital managers might define quality care in a somewhat different way and we question the methodology of imposing a 2 vast amount of strict protocols as a way to improve quality in patient care. There is no conclusive evidence to support that these uniformly imposed “quality programs” improve patient care, except on safety issues.