The Impact of Accreditation to be Highlighted in Upcoming Supplement to the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice

by Jessica Kronstadt, MPP

Focus on Accreditation and Innovation addresses current issues related to the Public Health Accreditation Board’s national public health department accreditation program, and the Public Health National Center for Innovations. This series highlights the experiences and perspectives of accredited health departments and explores topics related to the Standards and Measures, research and evaluation findings, and the latest innovations in public health practice.

The Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) was officially launched a little over ten years ago and the first health departments were accredited five years ago. With the growing number of health departments that have been accredited—over 210 state, local, and Tribal health departments spread throughout the country—it is a fitting time to reflect on the evidence related to accreditation. The May/June 2018 supplement to the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice does just that. In particular, this collection of articles focuses on what we have learned about the impact of accreditation.

The issue is organized in four sections, each featuring scientific articles, commentaries, and case studies that share the experiences of accredited health departments:

    • Quality Improvement (QI) and Performance Management (PM);
    • Partnerships;
    • Administration & Management; and
    • Future Directions.

While special issues on accreditation in 2007 and 2014 focused on the background and early evolution of accreditation, this issue includes analyses of several data sources to highlight differences between accredited and non-accredited health departments. As examples:

  • An  analysis of data from 2010 – 2016 suggests that accredited local health departments have made substantial progress in incorporating QI in their operations, compared to local health departments that have not yet begun the formal accreditation process.
  • Findings from a survey of employees at local health departments reveal that those working in accredited health departments experienced higher job satisfaction levels.
  • Analysis from the National Longitudinal Study of Public Health Systems indicates that the cohort of accredited health departments appears to offer a more comprehensive array of public health services and involve more partners in delivering services.

Keep an eye out for the supplement coming this spring to learn more about these studies, as well as articles about the Culture of Health, strategic planning, and community health assessments and improvement plans, among other topics.

Jessica Kronstadt, MPP

Jessica Kronstadt, MPP, is the Director of Research and Evaluation at the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB), overseeing efforts to evaluate the accreditation program and to promote research to build the evidence base around accreditation. Previously, she has conducted research for NORC at the University of Chicago, the Public Health Foundation, the National Academy for State Health Policy, and the Urban Institute. She received her Master of Public Policy from Georgetown University. [Full bio].