Why Veterinary Hospitals Should Strive for Accreditation
It's About the Quality of Care
All veterinary hospitals should be accredited. Why? To me, the reasons are obvious - to ensure that your hospital is providing the best care available. Now, I agree, you can be providing wonderful care for pets without accreditation - I get that. The Salt Lake City veterinarian community is filled with wonderful, smart, caring people - so there is lots of great care out there. AAHA is a way to keep the bar for practiced standards in veterinary care very high. That is what we all want for the patients we serve - right? So, how does a sticker help ensure quality care? The sticker forces a hospital to be self-reflective in their medical procedures, it forces the hospital to constantly review their equipment to make sure it is modern, it forces the hospital to review their business practices, in short it forces the hospital to always strive to be among the best. This striving to be the best, it raises the quality of care for all pets. To be accredited, the hospital must review themselves against accepted standards of care - and then be reviewed and visited by a third party inspector - repeatedly. That is a tough process for a hospital to follow.
Accreditation helps our clients and our patients. Accrediting organizations review hospitals for the client and give their seal of approval. AAHA inspects the hospital against over 900 stringent standards - something that a client really does not have time to do. I know that going through the AAHA process is a grueling, time consuming process that costs the hospital time and resources - we know that well - we are in our second decade of being an AAHA accredited Salt Lake City veterinary hospital. But the benefits to our patients and our pets are well worth it. We love the idea of continually learning and going to conferences and reading articles to stay abreast so the doctors in our hospital practice the best medical care available - all veterinarians do that. But this is an opportunity for an independent, expert third party to come to us - to scrutinize and measure us where we work. To scrutinize how we work. To check how clean our hospital is. To get nosy about our business and make sure we are not just doing good things - but we are reaching to be the best. They make sure that we are taking all that stuff from the journals and conferences - and practicing it. That is a stressful process for anyone - but, in the end, we love it. It simply makes us better - which helps our clients and our patients.
We are very fortunate to live in world with our pets. They improve the quality of lives of so many. Veterinary care has done nothing but improve over the past decades and our patients and clients have been the benefactors. We all have multiple stories about how modern veterinary medicine has made people's lives better. AAHA accreditation helps to ensure that all hospitals are performing at their very best - and getting better. We all know that new equipment is expensive, training our staff on best practices is time consuming, documenting and reviewing our medical procedures is tedious - and - having strangers review us is uncomfortable. We also know that we do not need to be accredited to run a veterinary hospital. But doesn't the process make us better? I think it makes us among the best.