Are accreditation surveys reliable?

David Greenfield*, Marjorie Pawsey, Justine Naylor, Jeffrey Braithwaite

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – The purpose of this article is to test whether healthcare accreditation survey processes are reliable. Design/methodology/approach – The study uses multiple methods to document stakeholder experiences and views on accreditation survey reliability. There were 29 research activities, comprising 25 focus groups, three interviews and a survey questionnaire. In total, 193 stakeholders participated; 134 in face-to-face activities and 56 via questionnaire. All were voluntary participants. Using open-ended questioning, stakeholders were asked to reflect upon accreditation survey reliability. Findings – Stakeholders perceived healthcare accreditation surveys to be a reliable activity. They identified six interrelated factors that simultaneously promoted and challenged reliability: the accreditation program, including organisational documentation and surveyor accreditation reports; members' relationship to the accrediting agency and survey team; accreditation agency personnel; surveyor workforce renewal; surveyor workforce management; and survey team conduct including coordinator role. The six factors realised shared expectations and conduct by accreditation stakeholders; that is, they enabled accreditation stakeholder self-governance. Practical implications – Knowledge gained can be used to improve accreditation program reliability, credibility and ongoing self-governance. Originality/value – The paper is a unique examination of healthcare accreditation surveys the reliability. The findings have potential application to reliability in other healthcare areas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-116
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2009
Externally publishedYes


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