Report: Public Heath Quality Improvement Exchange Can Increase Health Department Accreditation

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. - The Public Health Quality Improvement Exchange, led by RTI International, is one of three strategies recommended to increase national public health department accreditation, according to a new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

An online resource, the Public Health Quality Improvement Exchange is a communication hub for public health professionals interested in learning and sharing information about quality improvement in public health.  

The exchange is a component of the Strengthening the Community of Practice for Public Health Improvement project, led by the National Network of Public Health Institutes, which aims to have 60 percent of the nation’s population covered by an accredited health department by 2015.

“Public Health practitioners want to talk about public health quality improvement and accreditation with their peers,” said Jamie Pina, a research scientist at RTI and the project’s director.  “The online exchange bolsters the community of practice and extends it to a larger group of participants.”

Accreditation can strengthen public health’s capacity to protect the health of the population by establishing consistent national quality standards and measuring the performance of health departments against them.

Other suggested strategies in the report include hosting open forums that allow public health practitioners and experts to share information about preparing for accreditation and best practices in quality improvement, and promoting shared learning by providing small grants to selected health departments for conducting quality improvement projects designed to result in measurable change.

According to the report, health departments are the front line of defense against many of the nation’s most pressing health challenges—from chronic illness to food safety and disaster preparedness.

Created by RTI and funded by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Public Health Quality Improvement Exchange launched in September of 2012 with the goal of sustaining national efforts at quality improvement through providing public health practitioners with a means for obtaining knowledge from the experience of their colleagues.

The Public Health Quality Improvement Exchange amplifies information learned through quality improvement initiatives and facilitates increased use of quality improvement in public health practice. It includes features such as an online database of quality improvement efforts, and search functions to find interventions and tools.
 

waiting room in a health clinic

Highlights

  • The Public Health Quality Improvement Exchange is one of three strategies recommended to increase national public health department accreditation.
  • An online resource, the Public Health Quality Improvement Exchange is a communication hub for public health professionals.
  • The exchange is a component of the Strengthening the Community of Practice for Public Health Improvement project, led by the National Network of Public Health Institutes.