Safety and Quality > Our Work > Assessment to the NSQHS Standards > Australian Health Service Safety and Quality Accreditation Scheme


The Australian Health Service Safety and Quality Accreditation Scheme

Review of the Australian Health Service Safety and Quality Accreditation Scheme

 


 

The Australian Health Service Safety and Quality Accreditation Scheme

The Australian Health Service Safety and Quality Accreditation (AHSSQA) Scheme provides for the national coordination of accreditation processes.

Collecting and analysing feedback on the lessons learnt through accreditation is an essential part of quality improvement. Under the arrangements the Commission will use feedback to maintain and update the NSQHS Standards and to identify areas where health services may require additional support or tools.

Improvement across the health care system can be achieved when feedback from the assessment of health service organisations is used by:

  • state and territory health departments– to support health service improvement and facilitate better understanding for health service organisations about their quality of care
  • the Commission – to develop resources and tools to support good practice and to maintain the currency of the NSQHS Standards
  • health Ministers – to drive changes in policy and investment around safety and quality

The AHSSQA Scheme consists of five inter-related elements to support the application of the NSQHS Standards. The roles of each are broadly as follows:

  • health Ministers endorse the NSQHS Standards and receive information about health service organisations’ performance against the NSQHS Standards.
  • the state, territory and Commonwealth governments determine the health service organisations required to be assessed against the NSQHS Standards. They receive data on the outcomes of assessment of health service organisations and respond to emerging issues.
  • health service organisations implement the actions required to meet the NSQHS Standards and select an approved accrediting agency to assess their compliance in meeting the NSQHS Standards. This involves a contractual relationship with the accrediting agency that recognises that assessment data will be provided to state and territory health departments and the Commission for reporting and review.
  • the approved accrediting agencies assess health service organisations against the NSQHS Standards. They may also offer to assess other standards
  • the Commission, through coordination of a national program, will:
    • develop and maintain the NSQHS Standards
    • approve accrediting agencies to assess health service organisations against the NSQHS Standards
    • undertake ongoing liaison with state and territory health departments on opportunities to improve the Standards and the accreditation system
    • report to health Ministers annually on safety and quality.

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Review of the Australian Health Service Safety and Quality Accreditation Scheme

Feedback from state and territory regulators and chief executives of health service organisations has identified concerns with some aspects of the Australian Health Service Safety and Quality Accreditation (AHSSQA) Scheme, including its ability to reliably verify an organisation’s safety and quality systems.

The Commission has reviewed the AHSSQA Scheme with a view to updating and improving accreditation processes.

The Commission has proposed the following six strategies, which will be subject to further consultation, to improve the accreditation process:

  • Improve the veracity of health service organisation assessments
  • Improve the effectiveness and expertise of the assessment team
  • Assess the health service organisation’s safety and quality data to better inform assessment processes
  • Improve regulatory oversight
  • Improve communication about the assessments and their outcomes
  • Improve resources and support for health service organisations.

In working to describe the first strategy of improving the veracity of health service organisation assessments, the Commission contracted four literature reviews on assessment methodologies being considered, including:

The literature reviews describe the available evidence base and will inform progress on these strategies.

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Last updated: 18 October 2017