FAQS

Frequently Asked Questions

About the Portal


For visualizations on this website you do not need to log in. If you are an accredited health department and want to see data about your health department, you will need to log in. If you are the health department director or accreditation coordinator of an accredited health department, you should have received an email with your login credentials. If you are unable to login, please contact datainfo@phaboard.org.

The development of the Data Portal was jointly funded through support from both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. As part of PHAB’s promise to focus accreditation fees on the accreditation program and process, no fees paid by health departments were used to develop the Data Portal.

PHAB is always looking for suggestions on how to make its systems more effective and of greater value to health departments and the general public. PHAB has already identified a set of “phase 2” functionality with the hopes of additional grant funding, but please send your ideas and suggestions to datainfo@phaboard.org.

With the sunset of Internet Explorer 10 (IE10) and the same for Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) in the next several years, the data portal was optimized for the Microsoft Edge browser as well as Chrome and Firefox. The site will still be viewable with IE browsers, but some of the interactive experience may be limited.

Accreditation


A nonprofit social science research organization, NORC at the University of Chicago, has been conducting an evaluation of accreditation since the first health departments completed the process. Findings from their evaluation, as well as the benefits of accreditation and stories from accredited health departments, are located here: https://phaboard.org/why-become-accredited/

When the Accreditation Committee receives the Site Visitor Report prepared by peer reviewers, it may determine that the health department is not yet ready to be accredited. Instead, the health department is required to address specific measures. Peer site visitors will review the work that the health department has completed on those measures and prepare another report. Based on that report, the Accreditation Committee will make a final determination of Accredited or Not Accredited. That process, previously called the Action Plan, is now referred to as an ACAR (Accreditation Committee Action Requirements).

Not necessarily. Please keep in mind that health departments are assessed against the specific requirements of the Standards & Measures. For example, a health department that is assessed as Slightly or Not Demonstrated on Measure 1.1.2 might have a community health assessment, but it might be missing some of the specific components required by PHAB.

The site visit team reviews the documentation submitted by the health department and assesses conformity with the measure’s intent and requirements set forth in the Standards and Measures. Each measure is assessed using one of four assessment categories and reflects the professional judgment of the site visit team members. Measures are assessed as Fully Demonstrated or Largely Demonstrated if there is documentation that the health department meets the intent of the measure. If the intent of the measure is not documented, the health department is assessed as Slightly Demonstrated or Not Demonstrated.

PHAB uses a peer-review, consensus-based process. Site visit teams for initial accreditation typically consist of 3 PHAB-trained, volunteer site visitors and 1 Accreditation Specialist (PHAB staff). During the pre-site visit review, the team reaches consensus about what, if any, additional documentation to request from the health department as well as consensus on a preliminary assessment. Final assessment of conformity with each measure is based on the team members’ reviews and careful consideration of the documentation in e-PHAB, the information gained through the interviews during the site visit, the team’s discussion and consensus, and any guidance provided by the Accreditation Specialist.

PHAB requires health departments to report on the Population Health Outcomes that they are monitoring in their communities, as part of the reaccreditation process. Health departments provide updates on those data each year after they complete the reaccreditation process through their Annual Reports. Health departments indicate all the topics they are tracking and then provide specific details about the data they are tracking for a small number of those topics. The reporting has been designed to begin to document how the ongoing work of maintaining accreditation can contribute to better health outcomes.
To learn more:

PHAB publishes an E-Newsletter approximately five times per year. Click here to subscribe: https://phaboard.org/category/enewsletters/. If you’d like to have updates about the Accreditation Data Portal, please use the "subscribe" field in the footer below.

Data in the Portal


The portal only includes information about health departments that have participated in PHAB’s voluntary accreditation program and have undergone the peer review process. It is not necessarily representative of all health departments. For example, the Healthy People 2020 objective related to accrediting local health departments, has a denominator of 2,309 local health departments. Only a small portion of those have data in this portal. For more information about the universe of governmental health departments, see the profiles by the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials and the National Association of County and City Health Officials .

In order to maintain the confidentiality of health departments, we will not include data on a group of applicants when there are so few applicants of that type that it would be easy to identify individual agencies. When there are larger numbers of applicants with finalized Site Visit Reports in those categories, their data may be included in the portal.

The data are uploaded once a quarter, following the Accreditation Committee meeting.

No. It is important to keep in mind that this portal includes data about health departments when the Accreditation Committee first reviews their Site Visit Report. More than 40% of health departments are required to do additional work on the measures before they are accredited (Action Plan/ACAR). By the time they are accredited, those health departments will have completed additional work that has been assessed by site visitors and will have demonstrated increased capacity in the measures. PHAB is exploring ways to incorporate into this portal data from the Action Plan/ACAR process in Phase 2 development.

There are several measures that are required for states, but not for local health departments. If you select one of those measures, you will have substantially fewer health departments. In addition, some of the measures had substantial changes in their requirements when PHAB transitioned to Version 1.5. For those measures, the default is to display Version 1.5 data only. You can change the filter to view Version 1.0.

The data portal includes measure data on all accredited health departments, as well as health departments that have a final Site Visit Report reviewed by the Accreditation Committee but are currently working on an Action Plan/ACAR, and those health departments that are not accredited.

Health departments are not required to report on Population Health Outcomes until they apply for reaccreditation. Many health departments have yet to reach the reaccreditation stage. Data from additional health departments will be added each quarter.

As you view measure performance on a particular theme or standard, an icon of a piece of paper will appear. Clicking on that icon will reveal a list of resources relevant to the measures you have selected. It is not meant to be an exhaustive list. It includes resources developed by PHAB, the Public Health National Center for Innovations (PHAB’s innovations division), and our national partners. These are provided in the hope that you will find something relevant given your interest in a particular measure or group of measures.

Research


Yes. To honor its commitment to building the evidence base for accreditation, PHAB will release data generated through the accreditation process to be used for research purposes only. Researchers must complete a data request process and a data use agreement, in order to respect the confidentiality of health departments that apply for accreditation. More details are available here: https://phaboard.org/data-for-researchers/

For a list of articles about accreditation, please see: https://phaboard.org/publications-and-reports/. If you are familiar with relevant research that is not included on that page, please let us know at datainfo@phaboard.org. PHAB has also developed a set of research questions: https://phaboard.org/research-agenda/.


If you use data or images from this portal, please use this citation: Public Health Accreditation Board. Health Department Accreditation Data Portal. 2020. www.phabdata.org.
If you have questions that are not addressed here, please contact datainfo@phaboard.org.