Accreditation Process Spotlights the Intrinsic Value of Partnerships
By Tara Macke, MS
In March 2016, Public Health – Idaho North Central District in Lewiston, Idaho, became the first health district in Idaho to achieve national accreditation.
In preparing for accreditation, the first task was to create a team comprised of supervisors and managers from each division and program, an accreditation coordinator and the health department’sdirector, to be called the CREW. The concept of the CREW team was to facilitate discussion among the members, empowering staff to raise issues, comments and questions in a non-threatening way and allowing for free, additional thoughts on the various aspects and requirements of the documentation. The diversity of the CREW produced a far wider range of possible solutions to each standard and measure than would have been possible had we worked individually. The information shared among our CREW members maximized the levels of knowledge and learning for the whole organization. The stronger, more experienced team members effectively improve the weaker. A diverse team such as this encourages a wider sense of ownership of the organization, both collectively and individually, making team members more responsible and enthusiastic.
With the lessons learned from the creation and success of our CREW team and suggestions from the PHAB site visit team, our next community health assessment utilized a broader representation of community stakeholders and partners to explore areas of their expertise in which they could take greater leadership roles in the delivery of public health services, thus maximizing community resources for greater impacts and community outcomes.
Last but not least, effective teamwork is fun for the people involved and can raise motivation and morale for the entire organization and community. The teamwork created by the PHAB accreditation process maximized involvement, utilizing everyone’s strengths and areas of expertise, as well as distributing workloads and responsibility to all. Overall, the accreditation process has refined our focus and created a teamwork approach to every policy, program, and service we provide, both internally and externally.
Public Health – Idaho North Central District in Lewiston, Idaho, was awarded national accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board on March 8, 2016.
About the author:Tara Macke, MS, is Human Resources/Public Information Officer and Accreditation Coordinator at Public Health – Idaho North Central District in Lewiston, Idaho. Contact her at [email protected].
Other benefits gained as a result of going through the accreditation process:
Provided very clear direction on how we needed to be thinking about directing our programs, staff meetings, and partner meetings in the future to ensure that indeed, we were gathering the proper information for documenting how we were gathering information, data and improving our programs.
Changed our focus when working with our community partners.
Encouraged using a CQI model for projects, thus providing the baseline data to measure progress and lending to the ability to evaluate the whole process and improve it as needed.