Accreditation Works in Johnson County Kansas!
Accreditation has been a driving force for Johnson County Department of Health and Environment (JCDHE) in Kansas to stretch beyond our comfort level, maintain the current level of high quality operations and to reach for future performance excellence.
When the journey to accreditation began in 2011, JCDHE’s Health Director realized the positive impact of having a designated staff person leading accreditation activities. As a result, the Informatics and Quality Improvement (QI) Coordinator position was created. This position leads a team that supports the work of the entire department through quality improvement, accreditation, population health epidemiology, informatics, and information technology.
JCDHE achieved accreditation in June 2014. Areas for growth and improvement were identified during the process of planning for and achieving accreditation. Workforce development was one of the identified areas. The department experienced an opportunity to reorganize in 2015. The Strategic Planning Division was created which included all of the components of the Informatics and Quality Improvement Team with the addition of a newly reassigned staff member as the Workforce Development Coordinator and inclusion of the existing Sustainability Coordinator. The new Workforce Development Coordinator is assigned to plan and coordinate staff training and development, coordinate student intern placements, and assist with quality improvement and accreditation activities. The changes made in the reorganization were the result of multiple meetings to gather input and develop design proposals from all levels of staff in the department following the principles of quality improvement and those of a high performing organization. This process definitely stretched the comfort zone, but ended in a well-accepted decision made by all in the department.
In addition to this newly formed and strategically focused division, a cross-divisional team was formed to organize JCDHE’s community health assessment. This team collected primary data using the CDC model called CASPER that complemented existing secondary data to form an accurate picture of the community’s health. The team partnered with area hospitals to coordinate survey questions that would meet the needs of all participating stakeholders. This process aligns with the PHAB standards and measures and provided excellent opportunities for partnering with community stakeholders. The findings direct the department’s efforts in improving the health of the community and maintaining a high level of quality operations.
The accreditation process has provided guidance for JCDHE to reach for new goals that enhance performance and strengthen our integrity as a local department of health and environment. JCDHE has also formed an Ethics Committee and Health Equity Council, which align with the PHAB standards and measures requirements. These efforts in the department work towards the achievement of optimal health for the Johnson County community.
Accreditation works for the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment in Kansas!
Other benefits gained as a result of going through the accreditation process:
- Motivation to challenge ourselves with stretch goals for performance improvement
- Strengthen our integrity as a local department of health and environment
Johnson County Department of Health and Environment in Olathe, Kansas, was awarded national accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board on June 18, 2014.
About the Author: Debra Kellison, MPA, is Strategic Planning Division Director at Johnson County Department of Health and Environment in Olathe, Kansas. Contact her at [email protected]