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What Are the Different Types of Medical Accreditation?

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  • Written By: A. Reed
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 15 July 2018
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Medical accreditation involves a way in which institutions of medicine are determined to have met certain standards considered to be necessary for rendering a quality education that continues to effectively serve the public. Accreditation is essential to ensure that medical schools provide future doctors with the best training necessary to meet the needs of their patients. It is also important for keeping medical schools compliant with current medical standards. Besides accreditation intended for medical schools within a particular region, there is also a type of medical accreditation having to do with evaluation of medical education at countries outside a person's country of nationality.

Medical schools all around the world tend to have completed some kind of accreditation process, which sets forth certain criteria points that each school must meet to be considered a credible institution. In the United States and Canada, medical schools receive accreditation by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), a subsidiary of the American Medical Association. Medical schools in the United Kingdom (UK) are accredited by the Education Committee of the General Medical Council (GMC), and the Australian Medical Council is the organization responsible for accrediting schools in New Zealand and Australia.

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While there are differences in how each organization goes about accrediting colleges, similarities in the medical accreditation process do exist, such as conducting a visit to the school, appointing a board or committee to conduct accreditation activities, and a self-assessment. Assembly of the committee or team generally involves selection of members from the field of medicine, including doctors, nurses, professors, and scientists. Most schools are required to submit a type of progress report every two years and, where there are problematic issues, a one-year follow-up is necessary. Certain countries also require a yearly financial report as a condition of continued accreditation.

Another type of medical accreditation requires the evaluation of medical school education provided in other countries to be able to determine the level of education received by students or doctors from other parts of the world. Its purpose is to know whether a particular country's standards are at least equivalent for meeting the needs of the public. An example of such accreditation is provided by the National Committee on Foreign Medical Education and Accreditation in the U.S. Sometimes doctors relocate to other countries to practice and must re-establish themselves in that new place, becoming licensed there. Medical students also decide to leave their home countries to pursue an international education, and then return to home to practice.

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