To identify the quality improvement (QI) and performance management benefits reported by public health departments as a result of participating in the national, voluntary program for public health accreditation implemented by the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB).
We gathered quantitative data via Web-based surveys of all applicant and accredited public health departments when they completed 3 different milestones in the PHAB accreditation process.
Leadership from 324 unique state, local, and tribal public health departments in the United States.
Public health departments that have achieved PHAB accreditation reported the following QI and performance management benefits: improved awareness and focus on QI efforts; increased QI training among staff; perceived increases in QI knowledge among staff; implemented new QI strategies; implemented strategies to evaluate effectiveness and quality; used information from QI processes to inform decision making; and perceived achievement of a QI culture. The reported implementation of QI strategies and use of information from QI processes to inform decision making was greater among recently accredited health departments than among health departments that had registered their intent to apply but not yet undergone the PHAB accreditation process. Respondents from health departments that had been accredited for 1 year reported higher levels of staff QI training and perceived increases in QI knowledge than those that were recently accredited.
PHAB accreditation has stimulated QI and performance management activities within public health departments. Health departments that pursue PHAB accreditation are likely to report immediate increases in QI and performance management activities as a result of undergoing the PHAB accreditation process, and these benefits are likely to be reported at a higher level, even 1 year after the accreditation decision.