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Primary healthcare accreditation standards: a systematic review

Jafar Sadegh Tabrizi (Tabriz Health Services Management Research Center, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran)
Farid Gharibi (School of Nutrition and Food Sciences, Semnan University of Medical Sciences, Semnan, Iran)

International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance

ISSN: 0952-6862

Article publication date: 11 March 2019

Issue publication date: 11 March 2019




Accreditation is an essential component in primary healthcare (PHC) systems. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the most suitable PHC accreditation models and standards, worldwide, and to prepare a comprehensive and unbiased summary from research on these models.


A systematic search was undertaken using Web of Science, Scopus, Science Direct, Springer, PubMed and ProQuest databases in August 2016 and updated in January 2018. English language studies addressing PHC accreditation standards and models, published between 1995 and January 2018, were included, resulting in 9051 citations. After excluding duplicates and irrelevant studies, 19 were included in the final review. Two independent reviewers critically appraised the studies. Consequently, accreditation standards in the models were extracted and compared.


Results indicate that USA, Australia, Canada, UK and New Zealand (non-eastern Mediterranean regions (EMR)) and Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Egypt (EMR) had well-developed and high-quality PHC accreditation models. The Jordanian, Egyptian and Saudi models had the highest diversity in their PHC standards domains. Community-oriented care, safe care, high-quality care, care continuity and human resource management had the highest priority among PHC accreditation programs.


The authors provide PHC accreditation benchmarks and determine high priority practical domains in accreditation standards. The findings should help health system managers and policymakers design new PHC accreditation programs and promote PHC service quality.



Tabrizi, J.S. and Gharibi, F. (2019), "Primary healthcare accreditation standards: a systematic review", International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, Vol. 32 No. 2, pp. 310-320.



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