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Journal of Public Health Management & Practice:
doi: 10.1097/PHH.0b013e3182367d91
Original Articles

Quality Improvement and Accreditation Readiness in State Public Health Agencies

Madamala, Kusuma PhD, MPH; Sellers, Katie DrPH, CPH; Beitsch, Leslie M. MD, JD; Pearsol, Jim MEd; Jarris, Paul MD, MBA

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Abstract

Objective: There were 3 specific objectives of this study. The first objective was to examine the progress of state/territorial health assessment, health improvement planning, performance management, and quality improvement (QI) activities at state/territorial health agencies and compare findings to the 2007 findings when available. A second objective was to examine respondent interest and readiness for national voluntary accreditation. A final objective was to explore organizational factors (eg, leadership and capacity) that may influence QI or accreditation readiness.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Setting: State and Territorial Public Health Agencies.

Participants: Survey respondents were organizational leaders at State and Territorial Public Health Agencies.

Results: Sixty-seven percent of respondents reported having a formal performance management process in place. Approximately 77% of respondents reported a QI process in place. Seventy-three percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they would seek accreditation and 36% agreed or strongly agreed that they would seek accreditation in the first 2 years of the program. In terms of accreditation prerequisites, a strategic plan was most frequently developed, followed by a state/territorial health assessment and health improvement plan, respectively.

Conclusions: Advancements in the practice and applied research of QI in state public health agencies are necessary steps for improving performance. In particular, strengthening the measurement of the QI construct is essential for meaningfully assessing current practice patterns and informing future programming and policy decisions. Continued QI training and technical assistance to agency staff and leadership is also critical. Accreditation may be the pivotal factor to strengthen both QI practice and research. Respondent interest in seeking accreditation may indicate the perceived value of accreditation to the agency.

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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