Centres of excellence in heart failure: results of an accreditation programme in Spain (2017-2021)


To describe logistics and outcomes of the accreditation program of centres of excellence in heart failure (HF) developed in Spain by the Spanish Society of Cardiology (SEC) between 2016 and 2021.

Methods and results:

A scientific committee created by the SEC defined three types of HF units (community, specialized, and advanced), depending on the characteristics of the hospital and their portfolio of services and equipment, as well as the quality standards required for the accreditation of excellence. The units were required to submit to the SEC a document certifying compliance with the requirements and quality standards. Once verified these, the unit received accreditation of excellence from the SEC. Between 2017 and October 2021, 78 HF units spread throughout Spain applied for accreditation. This represents 50.6% of all Spanish national health system centres with cardiology departments. Accreditation was definitive in 56.4% of the applicant centres and provisional in the remaining 43.6%. Of the 78 units, 19 were community units, 44 specialized, and 15 advanced. Of the 34 units that received provisional accreditation for failure to meet any of the required quality standards, all resolved these deficits within 6 months of the initial evaluation, subsequently receiving definitive accreditation.


Our experience indicates that implementation of an accreditation programme for excellence and quality of care of HF units at the national level by a scientific society is feasible and sustainable over time, leading the majority of HF units in the country to apply for accreditation and to meet the required quality standards.

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