Accreditation Drives Transparency and Accountability in Portland, Oregon

Accreditation Works!

PHAB accreditation brings some expected and unexpected benefits to Oregon Health Authority’s Performance Management System


The Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division (OHA) was accredited by PHAB in March 2016. Domain 9 of the Public Health Accreditation Board’s Standards and Measures requires OHA to both “Evaluate and continuously improve health department processes, programs, and interventions” and “Use a performance management system to monitor achievement of organizational objectives.”

During the initial accreditation process and subsequent development of a performance management system, OHA established a formal system of feedback documentation that we call our Operational Dashboards. These dashboards are used to report monthly to the OHA Director. Each section manager reports to their center administrator on progress related to the state health improvement plan (SHIP) goals for which their section has responsibility, section strategic and operational goals, employee engagement efforts, and any emerging issues. Not only does this system inform the center administrator of the section’s strategic and operational issues, it also allows center administrators to highlight key areas of progress as well as issues of concern. The center dashboards inform the division-wide dashboard which is discussed monthly at the division’s monthly operations meeting as well as the division executive leadership meeting. Each item is coded as red (risk), yellow (some risk) or green (little or no risk) for a quick, visual display of priority areas.

In addition to managers and staff being more informed, there have been several unanticipated benefits:

• Leaders at many different levels are using dashboards to clearly define issues and keep internal owners accountable for progress.

• Communication scores are increasing on division-wide surveys following staff meetings and division-wide gatherings.

• Celebrations when we reach milestones or accomplishments are possible because success can be accurately measured.

• Progress on SHIP priorities are consistently and deliberately tracked and reported.

• Section managers and center administrators are actively using results from the Employee Engagement survey to implement quality improvement projects and initiatives.

In short, simply building and using a performance management system that best suits your needs will likely result in additional benefits from accreditation – it works!

The author is Accreditation and Accountability Coordinator at the Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division in Portland, Oregon. The health department was awarded national accreditation by the Public Health Accreditation Board on March 8, 2016.

About “Accreditation Works”
“Accreditation Works” is a new feature designed to showcase the benefits national accreditation brings to public health departments and communities while also providing insight into accreditation’s broad impact. To support this feature, PHAB-accredited health departments are invited to contribute 300-to-600-word narratives describing how their health department has changed as a result of going through the accreditation process. Collectively, these stories serve as first-hand testimonies of how PHAB accreditation benefits health departments and their communities. Submissions may be emailed to

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