By Betty S. Foh, MPH, CHES
The Public Health Authority of Cabarrus County, d.b.a. Cabarrus Health Alliance (CHA) was initially nationally accredited on February 27, 2013 under version 1.0 of the PHAB Standards and Measures. Since initial accreditation, CHA has made significant strides in strengthening and promoting quality of performance within our agency. In order to ensure that the performance management systems are supported by the Quality Improvement (QI) program, ongoing improvements have been made via staff trainings, organizational structures (such as program structure), customer service process and activities. The application of ongoing QI within CHA can be attributed to PHAB Accreditation, leadership support and staff commitment at all levels within the agency.
During the last five years, CHA has taken a holistic approach to ensuring and maintaining QI agency-wide. CHA’s QI Council was chartered by the Leadership Team to prioritize and subsequently direct the implementation of agency-wide strategic quality improvement projects in December 2010. Since then, CHA’s QI efforts have made a significant progression within the agency due to using PHAB’s Standards and Measures to guide the QI Program.
The QI Council has representatives from each department from all areas of the organization. CHA provides Public Health Quality Improvement 101 training to staff across multiple disciplines and all departments. QI trainings are also conducted for new employees during “New Employee Orientation.” The training is to build basic QI competencies, QI tools/methods and plant seeds for an agency-wide culture of Quality Improvement. As part of the agency’s Strategic Plan, each department is responsible for implementing QI projects within their individual areas and reports projects back to the board on a quarterly basis.
PHAB encourages CHA to continuously push the organization forward with new policies and data sharing through QI. There were various QI activities CHA addressed over the course of the accreditation cycle. Our goal was to facilitate increased understanding and knowledge regarding QI culture along with health equity within our programs. There was also a renewed effort to keep the board up to date on pertinent operational data. Implementing this improvement activity demonstrated our commitment to a system of transparency and collaboration, which strengthens our effectiveness as a local health department. Transparency within the agency and to our community partners encourages accountability and ensures our staff can make informed decisions that impact their programs, services, and the population we serve. Having this as part of our organization’s culture facilitates a seamless decision-making process that is imperative in the area of public health.
The Public Health Authority of Cabarrus County, d.b.a. Cabarrus Health Alliance, in Kannapolis, NC, was awarded national accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board on February 27, 2013.
About the author: Betty S. Foh, MPH, CHES, is quality improvement and accreditation program manager at the Public Health Authority of Cabarrus County, d.b.a. Cabarrus Health Alliance, in Kannapolis, NC. Contact her at [email protected].