Dr. Sharon Kleefield, a 15-year veteran of the faculty at Harvard Medical School, and former Director of Healthcare Quality at Harvard Medical International, is dedicated to developing and deploying standards of healthcare worldwide.
In this interview, Dr. Kleefield emphasizes the need for a better understanding of general healthcare standards and a wider range of reliable metrics in and among foreign providers.
Dr. Kleefield recites a virtual alphabet soup of accrediting agencies for healthcare providers, one of them being Joint Commission International, which is often cited as the most recognize set of hospital standards world wide. She also mentions Accreditation Canada International (ACI), National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers (NABH) Australian Council for Healthcare Standards International ( ACHSI), QHA Trent Accreditation, Accreditation of France (La Haute Autorité de Santé). Dr. Kleefield points out that each of these accrediting bodies has an important role in assuring good standards and outcomes in healthcare.
Outside of inpatient hospitals, there is the Accreditation Association of Ambulatory Healthcare (AAAHC), and also agencies or boards that accredit the accreditors like The International Society for Quality in Health Care (ISQua) and The United Kingdom Accreditation Forum, ( UKAF).
This multitude of organizations and agencies presents the challenge of staying up-to-date on who is accrediting whom, and for what. Dr. Kleefield’s advice to prospective patients seeking healthcare outside of their local area is to find providers, which, at a minimum, have secured a local certification and accreditation in their field of practice or discipline.