Public Health Accreditation – Where to Start?

If you are a public healthcare professional working through the accreditation process you may be thinking, “Where do I start?” Going from good to great isn’t always easy. The Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) has put standards in place to advance the quality and performance of the public health departments at the state and local levels to increase accountability and transparency. The process includes collecting and maintaining data on the health status of the population, analyzing that data and providing the results to develop recommendations.

Why would you want to go through the aggravation of all this data collection and analysis? Consider the benefits and impact of Public Health Accreditation:

  • Better identify strengths and weaknesses
  • Promote transparency
  • Improve management processes
  • Stimulate quality improvement and performance management
  • Increase accountability to community members, stakeholders, and policy makers
  • Improve communication with the governing entity/board of health
  • Be more competitive in funding opportunities

The first thing to do is appoint an Accreditation Coordinator in your organization who will review the process, standards and keep track of all documentation. Your organization will need to participate in, or conduct, a comprehensive community health assessment. Your Accreditation Coordinator will need to take lead on partnering with other organizations in your area in order to access the data needed.

Reliable data is extremely important for evaluating and developing programs in public health. Data must be gathered in a timely manner, as accurately as possible. One of the requirements involves retaining historical data in order to compare between populations and across time. A functional system is required for collecting data and for managing, analyzing, and using the data.

Once you have collected this data, how do you make sense of it? That is where dashboards can help. In a nutshell, iDashboards takes your information out of rows and columns and puts it into a visual format that is easy to understand. Data tells a story and you’ll be able to tell your story to accreditors, your constituents and stakeholders, and ultimately provide more accessibility and transparency into your organization. Dashboards will help you visualize and analyze your data to identify trends, show how your organization is progressing toward its goals, and display metrics from your continuous improvement plans.

Through iDashboards’ patented technology called interactive intelligence, you will be able to see correlations between related data points even if they are coming from separate data sources. This allows for better decision making when you are looking at data pulled from all divisions of your organization. When measuring meaningful use with your EHR/EMR, you can utilize dashboards to monitor all metrics in one location in order to improve healthcare delivery, quality and safety. Dashboards help with data sharing internally and provide timely electronic access to health information at a high level with the ability to drilldown into granular data.

The dashboards connect directly to your backend data sources in order to display the most accurate and up to date information. This leverages the investment that your organization has already made in business software and databases and allows you to reallocate your crucial IT/reporting resources.

Dashboards allow you to access reporting any time in a standardized, systematic manner. You can access your reports on your smart phone or tablet anywhere with an Internet connection. With a web license, you can display metrics for the public’s consumption on your external website. This will allow you to engage the community in identifying and addressing health concerns and promote their understanding of public health initiatives.

Photo credit: The Tennessee Department of Health

 

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