How to Identify a Good Hospital Abroad?

A Guide to International Accreditations

    We encourage you to consider these healthcare  accreditations as indicators of quality and safety when choosing a hospital to receive medical treatment abroad. However, it’s important to do thorough research, read patient reviews, and talk to your doctor before making a final decision. Also consider the specific medical procedure you need and see if the hospital has expertise in that particular field. When considering medical travel, it is important to choose a hospital that meets international quality and safety standards. Here are some well-known certifications to help you decide.


Northern America Based Organizations

International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Certification:

ISO certification is a worldwide recognized standard that sets criteria for many aspects of organizational management and operations. Two important ISO certifications , ISO 9001 and ISO 15189, assess quality management systems. ISO 9001 and ISO 15189, demonstrate a hospital’s ability to consistently meet customer requirements and legal/regulatory obligations while continuously improving its processes. ISO 15189 is a specific accreditation for medical laboratories, including those in hospitals, with a focus on the quality and competence of medical laboratory services. It highlights the accuracy and reliability of clinical testing and supports patient safety.

Joint Commission International (JCI):

The Joint Commission International  is a globally recognized accreditation body for healthcare providers. JCI sets rigorous standards for patient care, safety and quality improvement. JCI accredited hospitals undergo an extensive evaluation process to ensure compliance with international medical standards.  Commitment to quality management systems and medical laboratory services, respectively. These certifications demonstrate that the hospital adheres to internationally recognized quality standards and continuously strives for excellence.

Canadian International Accreditation (ACI):

Accreditation Canada International is an independent, non-profit organization focused on accrediting healthcare organizations internationally. Although based in Canada, ACI operates globally, providing accreditation services to healthcare facilities outside of Canada. ACI is an accreditation body that evaluates healthcare facilities based on quality and safety standards. Hospitals accredited by ACI demonstrate a commitment to patient-centered care, performance measurement, and continuous quality improvement. Accreditation Canada International plays a key role in promoting quality improvement and patient safety in healthcare organizations around the world.

Health Facility Accreditation Program (HFAP):

HFAP is an independent accreditation organization based in the United States that evaluates and recognizes the quality and safety standards of healthcare facilities. This program aims to promote excellence in healthcare delivery and ensures that facilities meet certain predetermined criteria. Accreditation demonstrates a commitment to quality and safety, enhances the facility’s reputation, and can help attract patients, healthcare professionals, and partnerships.


European Accreditations Following EU rules and regulations

European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM):

The European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) is a non-profit organization based in Europe that focuses on promoting and supporting excellence in organizational performance and quality management. The EFQM provides a framework, known as the EFQM Excellence Model, which serves as a guide for organizations striving to achieve and sustain excellence. EFQM is widely recognized as a framework for achieving organizational excellence. Hospitals that have received an EFQM Excellence Award or are EFQM certified demonstrate a commitment to continuous improvement, patient satisfaction and medical excellence.


National Accreditation Bodies for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers:

Of course, countries usually have their own bodys that assess and certifiy their healthcare facilities. In Europe, each state has to comply with basic assessment criteria set forth by the EU. However, each state can implement certification with higher standards that those imposed by the EU. It is the case for countries such as France, Germany, Spain Portugal to name a few. In France cerification is compulsory and holds hospital to a higher standard than the one required by the EU.


We hope this article will help you navigate the complexity of healtcare accreditations. We encourage you to consider these certifications as indicators of quality and safety when choosing a hospital if you are planning on undergoing a medical procedure abroad. However, basic knowledge of those accreditations should not prevent you from doing thorough research, reading patient reviews, and talking to your doctor before making a final decision. Also consider the specific medical procedure you need and see if the hospital has expertise in that particular area.

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