ANCC Accreditation with Distinction Criteria Review: Quality Outcomes 3b

The third set of Accredited Provider Distinction Criteria builds on the standard Quality Outcomes criteria. There are three criteria within this group, and all three must be met for a provider to achieve “Distinction.”

The second criterion in this section (3b) states: 

Evidence demonstrates a process description and example that the Provider Unit’s evaluation process resulted in a quality outcome measure that exhibits improvement in healthcare quality, patient, or community outcomes. (If outcomes were not met, identify barriers and challenges to attainment.)

In the standard accreditation criteria, NCPD programs are required to identify a quality outcome and measure it. As with the other Accreditation with Distinction criteria, this criterion builds on that requirement. Instead of simply improving the professional development of the nurses who participate in the educational program, this criterion asks an NCPD program to improve the quality of healthcare, patient outcomes, or even the health of the community at large. Or, at least, it asks a program to try.

There are many types of organizations that include NCPD in their structure. A hospital system may find it easy to track patient metrics and see if an NCPD program is having an impact. A nursing school may have access to community data that will allow them to see if they are having an impact beyond a patient population. Other organizations may need to think smaller to meet this criterion. How might the education they offer improve the quality of healthcare?

So that’s step one. Identify a goal. What is the outcome you’re going to measure?

Step two is how to measure it. It’s useful to think about this step as you’re identifying an outcome. A medical education company such as i3 Health doesn’t have access to the same sort of data that a hospital system might have, so these two organizations are positioned to focus on different outcomes.

We now have an outcome and a way to measure it. Step three is to follow through. Hopefully, when you write your self-study, you’ll find that you’ve had the impact you were hoping for. But it’s okay if you didn’t. This criterion allows for failure because we can still learn and improve when we fail. What went wrong? Why wasn’t the criterion met? Patient non-adherence? Not enough staff? Too little time? What might you want to try the next time you attempt to meet this quality outcome?

The most difficult part of achieving this criterion is identifying a quality outcome that makes sense for your program. The acceptance of failure as part of the quality process leaves you open to try to expand your goals while still achieving Accreditation with Distinction.

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