HSO Staff
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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?

As our name states, our focus is on developing standards, assessment programs, and other methodologies to enable health and social service providers around the world to move the needle on quality while doing what they do best: saving and improving lives.

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 and our other Global Program Partners.

Health care and service systems around the world are changing and so are we.

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 include:

  • 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 achieving quality health services for all; people must be at the center of everything we do

Why create a new organization?

Rigorous consensus-based, evidence-informed standards are the basis of any great assessment program. We created HSO to spearhead a global movement to improve and save lives using the best standards, innovative tools, and leading expertise from around the world.

As an HSO affiliate, Accreditation Canada will deliver objective, credible and outcome-oriented assessment programs using the best standards available and empowering providers to focus on what matters to them in their local context.

As the global health care landscape undergoes major change, both HSO and Accreditation Canada are here, with you on your quality improvement journey.

A snapshot of HSO and Accreditation Canada

HSO Accreditation Canada
  • Provides accreditation and assessment programs to health services such as health regions, long-term care, mental health and addictions, primary care, community care, seniors care and hospitals (to name a few)
  • Works with more than 7,000 health and social service providers in Canada and around the world
  • In February 2017, Accreditation Canada  streamlined its operations to offer unified and coordinated assessments to Canadian and International markets as a single entity


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

HSO and Accreditation Canada are focused squarely on the people that power health systems around the world: patients, providers and policy-makers. We strongly believe that our person-centered approach to the design of products, standards and assessments will make 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 person-centered care, we’re putting people first.

We call this philosophy People Powered Health™.

Over the coming year, you’ll hear more and more about it. It’s what we’re all about.

How to get involved

More information

To learn more, visit our FAQ page or read our recent updates. Feel free to contact us for more information or to provide your feedback.

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HSO – A bold step to improve health services worldwide

As of February 1, 2017, we are taking a bold step in a new direction, launching Health Standards Organization (HSO) and placing patients, community members and families at the heart of everything we do.

Our ambition: To start a movement and unleash the power and potential of people around the world who share our passion for achieving quality health services for all. 

You spoke, we listened

HSO comes as a result of our clients’ feedback throughout the past year and more than 50 years of experience working with health providers and community groups to understand what is needed to make health systems work better.

You’ve challenged us to provide world-class health standards and easily actionable assessments that are more relevant and tailored to your local context, all while ensuring patients, community members and families are at the centre of what we do.

We have heard loud and clear that people expect us to build on what is working and to change what isn’t so health providers can do what they do best; save and improve lives.

We are setting the highest quality standards possible because we don’t think the public should aspire for anything less than the best for their health.

Drawing a clear line between standards and assessment

United under single leadership, HSO with Accreditation Canada as its affiliate, are working on a global scale to help people improve health systems and services in their local jurisdictions.

These two organizations are working side-by-side to change the way health care standards are created and the way accreditation services are provided. HSO specializes in the development of best-in-class standards, innovative assessment methodologies, and practical activation services and tools. Accreditation Canada plans and provides accreditation services to Canadian and international clients, helping people focus on what matters to them in their local context.

Great accreditation programs are based on great standards, and we are setting the bar for health system standards. HSO is a powerhouse of knowledge and co-creation, ensuring that the standards and assessment programs people rely on are relevant, rigorous and results-oriented.

Follow us as we work towards better health standards, better health assessments and better health outcomes. We’re powering care with people at its heart.

Frequently asked questions


Watch: A message from our CEO, Leslee Thompson

Welcome from our CEO