Center for Improvement in Healthcare Quality Newsletter
June 2022

Disease Specific Certification

How do you demonstrate to patients, payers, and your community that the care you render is truly a “cut above”?
Disease specific certification (DSC) is designed to recognize the provision of evidence-based best practice to targeted patient populations. DSC programs are available to any hospital regardless of their accreditor.
DSC is currently offered in the following areas:
  • Acute Stroke Ready
  • Primary Stroke Center
  • Comprehensive Heart Attack Center
  • Heart Failure
  • Joint Replacement Surgery

The Survey Process

In order to obtain disease specific certification, a hospital must undergo a rigorous on-site survey. The survey is one or two days in length and is conducted by one CIHQ’ senior surveyors – Individuals who are specifically trained to accurately determine compliance to DSC standards. The survey is announced and scheduled in coordination with the hospital.

Survey Activities

The survey itself consists of a mixture of document review (including required policies and performance data), and visits to targeted areas of the hospital.
In addition, interviews with key leaders and a review of staff training records occurs.
Sample One Day Survey Agenda
0830 to 0845: Welcome & Opening Conference
0845 to 1030: Review of Requested Documents
1000 to 1200: Tour of Work & Care Areas
1200 to 1300: Lunch
1300 to 1500: Medical Record Review as Applicable
1500 to 1600: Staff Training & Education Review as Applicable
1600 to 1630: Surveyor Preparation Time
1630: Exit Conference
Research has conclusively shown that hospitals that consistently deliver evidence-based care;
  • Have better patient outcomes
  • Reduce the incidence of errors and adverse events
  • Reduce the overall cost of care
  • Have higher patient satisfaction

Duration of Award

DSC designation is awarded for a maximum of 36 months


Fees are billed on an annual or quarterly basis as preferred by the organization. Fees include surveys and surveyor travel expenses.
  • A DSC designation fee for a CIHQ accredited organization is $2,500 annually.
  • A DSC designation fee for a non-CIHQ accredited organization is $4,500 annually

For Further Information

Center for Improvement in Healthcare Quality
Attn: Traci Curtis, Executive Director of Survey Operations
P.O. Box 3620
McKinney, TX 75070
Apply On-line at

"Achieving CIHQ Disease Specific Certification in Joint Replacement Surgery is a recognition of Baptist Hospital of Southeast Texas’s commitment to provide care in a safe and efficient manner for patients. The certification has set standards that are designed to demonstrate integration of evidence-based clinical practice guidelines, ongoing performance improvement strategies, and an organization infrastructure that supports continued excellence.
The program places a major emphasis on the continuum of care throughout the perioperative period. This is an advanced specialty-focused certification that pays special attention to patient outcomes, promotion of team cohesiveness and consistency in care, creating a systematic approach to service line delivery, driving the organization to a higher level of excellence and fostering community."
Judy Collier, Director
Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas