Thursday, January 26, 2012

How Long Does It Take to Submit an Application?

That’s one of the most common questions we hear from organizations, whether they are considering accreditation for the first time or are preparing to apply for reaccreditation. To get an answer, AAHRPP recently invited accredited organizations to provide information on their experience with the self-assessment at the heart of the accreditation process.

Following are some highlights:
  • Organizations applying for accreditation for the first time spent an average of 16.5 months completing the self-assessment, compared with 5.7 months for those seeking reaccreditation.
  • Nearly 60% of responding organizations did not assign a staff member to pursue accreditation full-time. In most cases, accreditation was a team effort, involving two or more individuals working part-time.
  • Organizations with 2,500 or more active protocols were more likely to devote full-time staff to work on accreditation.
  • The size of the organization (number of active protocols) did not influence the average time needed to conduct the initial or reaccreditation self-assessments.

Accredited organizations offered the following tips:
  • Start early (by far the most common recommendation).
  • Prepare but don’t overdo it. Keep policies and information simple. Streamline whenever possible.
  • Give yourself time to review all policies, procedures, and practices.
  • Educate yourself on the AAHRPP standards and use AAHRPP as a resource.
  • Develop a plan and a timeline and adhere to them.

Two organizations shared their different, successful approaches.
  • From Vanderbilt University, which completed its self-assessment for reaccreditation in two to three months: “Each team of two took one domain and completed the self-assessment by spending one to two days a week at off-site retreats.”
  • From Maine Medical Center, which completed its initial accreditation assessment in 18 months: “We posted the duties on sticky notes along the outside of my office. Every time a task was completed, we removed the sticky note. This simple process motivated everyone. The visual evidence of progress got everyone involved jazzed up to complete this monumental project.”

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