The process by which an agency or organization evaluates and recognizes an institution or an individual as meeting standards necessary for providing a particular service.
Within health services the process of accreditation may include the issue of a license to practise or to provide services, charge fees, use certain equipment, engage staff, etc.
Accreditation may have the backing of law with sanctions that can be enforced by courts. Enforcement may be put in the hands of professional bodies or government organizations.
Accreditation is a common feature for the operation of health service facilities and for the practice of medicine, accountancy, midwifery, pharmacy and certain other paramedical disciplines.
The pattern and methods of accreditation vary between countries.