What is HSO?

HSO stands for Health Standards Organization. Formed in February 2017, our goal is to unleash the power and potential of people around the world who share our passion for achieving quality health services for all. We are a registered non-profit headquartered in Ottawa, Canada.

What does that mean?

Our focus is on developing standards, assessment programs and other tools to help care providers do what they do best: save and improve lives. Recognized by the Standards Council of Canada, we are the only Standards Development Organization solely dedicated to health and social services.

Where did HSO come from?

HSO is building on the strength of nearly 60 years of experience by Accreditation Canada, Canada’s leading health care accreditation body.

In 2016, we consulted more than 700 stakeholders across Canada and around the world to understand how best to put our collective learnings to work. Key takeaways from this review included:

  • Standards development must be separate from conducting assessments in order to be the best-in-class at both
  • The accreditation process must be more accountable and transparent, with a stronger focus on outcomes and consistency
  • Standards and assessments need to be easily actionable, clinically relevant, and tailored to local contexts
  • Patients (and their families), practitioners and policy-makers all play critical roles in improving health globally

Why create a new organization?

Rigorous consensus-based, evidence-informed standards are the core of quality improvement . We created HSO to help save and improve lives using the best research and leading expertise from around the world.

A snapshot of HSO and Accreditation Canada

HSOAccreditation Canada
Health Standards Organization (HSO) works with leading experts and those with lived experience to develop standards, assessment programs and quality improvement solutions. Accreditation Canada inspires people around the world to improve outcomes through independent assessments against global standards.

Develops and maintains:

  • More than 100 health care and social service standards
  • Assessment programs (such as accreditation), which are delivered by assessment partners
  • Quality improvement tools and resources
  • Customizes and delivers accreditation and assessment programs to health and social services organizations and governments, according to their local needs
  • Works with more than 12,000 locations worldwide


What makes HSO and Accreditation Canada different from any other standards development or accreditation body?

People Powered Health – HSO and Accreditation Canada are focused on the people that power health systems around the world: patients, providers and policy-makers. We believe that our people-centered approach to the design of products, standards and assessments makes a real difference in improving quality and health outcomes.

From incorporating patients into accreditation surveyor teams to including patients on the technical committees that review our standards to offering unique solutions that help organizations focus on people-centered care, we’re putting people first.

How to get involved