This article analyzes the dynamics and changes in the accreditation process in three different places - France, UK and Cataluña (Spain) - based on documents about their health systems organizations, funding sources and regulations. The objective was to find out about the relevant aspects of the strategies of these countries' institutions that adapted accreditation to national circumstances in the healthcare policy arena. Although there are similarities in the basic approaches and standards used, there are different models of accreditation. Setting standards raises the question of who should define them and how they should be monitored; accreditation's methodology cannot be seen only as a voluntary process for assessing quality in healthcare or perceived as tool for certification and regulation. Interests in accreditation can be driven by a number of different forces, which depend upon the model adopted. Therefore, it can only be understood in the policy arena of each country.
Accreditation; health systems; health policy; quality management