The accreditation systems of the United States, Canada, and Australia have been restructured to reflect the adoption by health services of the industrial model of continuous quality improvement. The industrial model of quality makes assumptions about management structures and the relation of process to outcome which are not readily transferable to the assessment of quality in health care. The accreditation systems have therefore had to adapt the principles of continuous quality improvement to reflect the complex nature of health service organisations and the often untested assumptions about the relation between process and outcome.
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