249379 “Factors Associated with Local Health Department Decisions to Undertake Voluntary Accreditation”

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 12:50 PM

Christina Welter, DrPH, MPH , Doctoral Program in Public Health Leadership, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
National voluntary public health agency accreditation with a quality improvement (QI) focus begins in 2011. The purpose of this study was to explore factors influencing the decisions of local health departments (LHDs) to participate in a voluntary accreditation program. The study was conducted between August 2007 and April 2009. Seven (7) Illinois LHDs that participated in the Illinois Voluntary Accreditation Pilot Project were matched by size and geography to 7 nonparticipant LHDs. Using a mixed methods approach, data was collected on how perception of accreditation's value, organizational capacity, and leadership impacted the decision to participate in Illinois' pilot. Both participant and nonparticipant LHDs viewed accreditation as an opportunity that could lead to QI, but to varying degrees. Leaders serving in the top administrative position of participant LHDs were more likely to have a higher degree of educational attainment; these leaders were also undergoing an existing organizational change process before participating in the pilot. LHDs did not participate in Illinois' pilot primarily because the costs of participating outweighed what they perceived to be the benefits; additional incentives would be needed before they would consider participating in accreditation. Several possible practice-based and research implications of this study include: 1) Enhanced training on transformational change and QI for LHD leaders; 2) Additional research to fully understand the need for and ways to provide incentives for a voluntary accreditation process; and 3) Improvements in the marketing of voluntary accreditation to more fully explicate the relation to other improvement processes and the benefits of participation.

Learning Areas:
Administration, management, leadership
Public health administration or related administration
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Explain what factors may impact the decision to undertake voluntary accreditation Describe the differences in local health departments participating in one state’s voluntary accreditation pilot program Identify ways in which local health departments may prepare for national voluntary public health accreditation

Keywords: Health Departments, Accreditation

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to be an abstract Author because I conducted the research associated with this project as part of my doctoral thesis. I wrote the proposal, gathered data, and conducted all the analyses.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.