Applying for PHAB national public health accreditation and re-accreditation are similar processes, but the goal of each is different. Accreditation focuses on developing the capacities needed to provide the ten essential public health services, whereas re-accreditation focuses on using those capacities to improve departmental performance and community health.

Use of performance management software, like Clear Impact Scorecard (CIS) fulfills domain 9 of PHAB accreditation. But it can do much more than that. Using it from the start can streamline and simplify the entire accreditation, re-accreditation, and annual reporting processes involved in maintaining accreditation status. It aids in building capacities (especially in the realms of data management, collaboration, analysis, and documentation) and provides a process for continuous improvement.

Here are 2 main ways CIS supports the re-accreditation process. To see how it can support the initial accreditation process, read this blog post.

1. Facilitate Continuous Improvement

The re-accreditation process itself is designed to facilitate continuous quality improvement within the health department. It is based on a “modified self-study”, whereby the department conducts an in-depth review and analysis of its policies, procedures, processes, programs, interventions, standards, and practices. This study is documented in narrative form and examples.

A performance management system that supports in-depth departmental analysis, documentation, and population health outcome measurement ensures the stories are being captured from the beginning and throughout the accreditation journey. Narratives can be informed by and drawn from the system itself.

Clear Impact Scorecard facilitates the continuous improvement process, as well as its documentation, by providing a space to analyze five important factors of continuous improvement:

1. Graphing Data Baselines, Targets, and Forecasts

To achieve re-accreditation, the department must engage in population health outcome reporting. They must include measurable objectives, accompanying targets, benchmark data sources, and past and current data for 5-10 topic areas. In CIS, departments can include all of these requirements in a clear, visually appealing way. Data graphs can be downloaded and shared easily. Users can also add notes on data points to provide background information on data sources.

2. The Story Behind the Data

A main part of PHAB’s domain 1 requires ensuring the Community Health Assessment includes: data from a variety of sources and community sectors, the context of the populations, and a look into the social determinants of health. In CIS, you can provide an analysis of the health issue and link to the different data sources, websites, and reports informing the analysis.

3. Partner Collaboration

Diverse, cross-sector collaboration and communication with community members, stakeholders, and other health departments is infused throughout the domains of re-accreditation. CIS acts as a system to not only list, but engage the community, partners, and other governing bodies in decision-making processes. For example, the system can be used to connect with, communicate with, and source information from other health departments in the state. Users can connect with each other to share data and coordinate efforts. Selected scorecards can also be shared publicly by embedding on websites. Data, scorecards, and analyses can easily be projected at town halls, focus groups, and meetings to facilitate collaborative strategy development.

4. Analysis of What Works to Improve the Data

PHAB requires health departments to consider data, information, analysis, and strategies from other health departments and industries to address the factors and social determinants of health. In CIS, departments can draw from a growing library of success stories, in the CIS Success Stories Library, to inform the development of population strategy and quality improvement efforts. State health departments that coordinate with local departments who use CIS may choose to require the uploading of success stories to the library to support collaborative efforts throughout the state.

5. The Departmental Strategy, Action Plan, and Timeline

PHAB wants re-accreditation applicants to focus on performance improvement, accountability, and promoting a culture of quality improvement. This involves taking accountability for the timely implementation of strategies to improve performance and community health impact. To help meet this need, CIS offers a variety of action-planning and implementation tools created to help health departments complete projects on-time and keep everyone accountable. For example, Gantt charts let departments easily organize projects on a visual timeline, assign tasks via email, set due dates, and monitor project completion.

For each data measure a health department decides to track in the Scorecard, CIS provides the space to document the narrative behind the above five factors of a continuous improvement process. Data measures can be population health outcomes, program performance measures, or departmental performance measures. Within each narrative, health departments can provide links, embed images, and even embed other websites or GIS technology to provide context.

2. Link CHA, CHIP, QIP, and Departmental Strategic Plans for Maximum Results

PHAB re-accreditation standards and measures were designed to promote alignment between all of a health departments plans and strategies. Alignment is really about ensuring that what the health department does (e.g. activities, programs, services, quality improvement processes) reflect current data, actually address the important health issues, and are designed to have the greatest impact.

One path to alignment is to automate and combine your CHA/CHIP/QIP in performance management software like CIS. CIS allows you to organize your population health measures, programs, performance measures, and accompanying narratives in an intuitive way that is easy to navigate. A cascading view allows you to see the big-picture connections between population-level strategy and individual program/ departmental performance. You can also “zoom in” to see the graphs, stories, and narratives for each population health or program performance measure.

It’s never too early to think about getting a performance management and improvement system. If it’s your goal to maintain your health department’s accreditation status, project management software alone just doesn’t cut it. Getting a performance management system now, that offers the features described above, will help prepare you for the intensive self-study and documentation necessary for re-accreditation.

The information in this blog regarding re-accreditation was retrieved from the Guide to National Public Health Department Re-Accreditation: Processes and Requirements, Public Health Accreditation Board (2016)

See a Demo of Clear Impact Scorecard