Benefits & Impacts of Accreditation

Many public service and health-related entities—such as hospitals, schools, and universities—have accreditation programs. Until recently, there was no national accreditation program for public health departments. Since September 2011, the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) has recognized health departments that meet national standards that ensure they provide essential public health services in their communities.

Health departments agree* that accreditation helps them

  • Stimulate quality improvement (95%)
  • Improve accountability and transparency (89%)
  • Improve the capacity of the department to provide high quality programs and services (85%)
  • Strengthen the health department’s relationship with key partners in other sectors (e.g., healthcare, social services, education) (78%)
  • Help the health department use health equity as a lens for identifying and addressing health priorities (73%)
  • Increase the extent to which the health department uses evidence-based practices (68%)
  • Strengthen the utilization of resources (68%)

 *Source: NORC at the University of Chicago, Evaluation Findings: Assessing Outcomes from Public Health Accreditation (June 2021)

Resources
  • Impact of Public Health Accreditation
    An open-access journal issue featuring scientific articles, case studies, and commentaries about the impact of public health accreditation (Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, May/June 2018)
  • Evaluating the Impact of National Public Health Department Accreditation—United States, 2016
    A report in the August 12, 2016, MMWR issue describes how PHAB accreditation is bringing far-reaching benefits to health departments and the communities they serve. Accredited sites surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that accreditation yielded benefits, including
  • Stimulating quality and performance improvement (98%)
  • Creating greater accountability and transparency (92%)
  • Improving management processes (90%)
  • PHAB website PHAB’s website provides information about evaluation results, as well as a series featuring stories from the field and tangible benefits health departments experienced
  • Publications and Reports A collection of PHAB-published and other peer-reviewed publications and reports about the accreditation process, impact, and challenges
  • Accreditation logic model and research agenda An updated logic model and research agenda that provides questions intended to guide further explorations about accreditation
Page last reviewed: July 20, 2022