The public disclosure of accreditation information: practices and perceptions of opportunities and challenges
Greenfield, D and Hinchcliff, R and Pawsey, M and Westbrook, J and Braithwaite, J, The public disclosure of accreditation information: practices and perceptions of opportunities and challenges, Health Policy, 113, (1-2) pp. 151-159. ISSN 0168-8510 (2013) [Refereed Article]
Public disclosure is increasingly a requirement of accrediting agencies and governments. There are few published empirical evaluations of disclosure interventions that inform evidence-based implementation or policy. This study investigated the practices associated with the public disclosure of healthcare accreditation information, in addition to multi-stakeholder perceptions of key challenges and opportunities for improvement. We conducted a mixed methods study comprising analysis of disclosure practices by accreditation agencies, and 47 semi-structured individual or group interviews involving 258 people. Participants were diverse stakeholders associated with Australian primary, acute and residential aged care accreditation programmes. Four interrelated issues were identified. First, there was broad agreement that accreditation information should be publicly disclosed, although the three accreditation agencies differed in the information they made public. Second, two implementation issues emerged: the need to educate the community about accreditation information, and the practical question of the detail to be provided. Third, the impact, both positive and negative, of disclosing accreditation information was raised. Fourth, the lack of knowledge about the impact on consumers was discussed. Public disclosure of accreditation information is an idea that has widespread support. However, translating the idea into practice, so as to produce appropriate, meaningful information, is a challenge.