Joint Accreditation Overview

For the majority of the time that health care continuing education has had an accreditation process, each profession has had a unique organization responsible for that process. And each of those organizations had specific criteria that an education provider had to meet to become an accredited provider. But health care is a team sport. Doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and therapists are just a few of the many professions that come together to provider care to patients.

After a lengthy process of alignment and collaboration, in 2009, the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) came together to launch a new type of accreditation: Joint Accreditation for Interprofessional Continuing Education™, or JA for short. The concept behind JA is that health care continuing education should be developed by the health care team and for the health care team. Over the years since the first organizations were accredited in the JA system, other accrediting bodies have joined the collaboration. At the time of writing, a total of 10 different credit types can be offered by organizations that hold Joint Accreditation.

At first glance, most people see JA as an opportunity to get multiple accreditations in a single application. While this is true, the eligibility requirements go beyond that. Remember, JA is about education by the team and for the team. As you see in the full name of the accreditation, the focus is on interprofessional education. At least 25% of a program’s activities must be interprofessional, planned by a team that reflects the makeup target audience. This focus on interprofessional education needs to have been in place for a minimum of 18 months before an organization will be considered for JA.

The JA accreditation criteria are similar to what is seen in the ACCME, ACPE, and ANCC criteria that were the foundation of the system. They are divided into 4 sections, 1 of which is optional.

The 4 sections are:

  • Mission and Program Improvement
  • Activity Planning and Evaluation
  • Integrity and Independence
  • Commendation

Mission and Program Improvement contains 3 criteria focused on the program’s mission statement, program analysis, and program improvement.

Activity Planning and Evaluation contains the bulk of the required criteria, with a total of 8. They focus on the various parts of an activity’s life cycle from the practice gap that led to the need for education to the evaluation process used to determine the activity’s impact.

Integrity and Independence includes a single criterion, but in the self-study narrative portion of the accreditation application, you will find multiple questions as this criterion addresses all of the Standards for Integrity and Independent in Accredited Continuing Education.

Commendation is optional. It includes 13 criteria of which an organization is required to meet seven in order to achieve commendation.

In future posts, we will go into each criterion in detail. What do they require? And what do they mean to you?

References

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