Understanding stakeholders’ perspectives and experiences of general practice accreditation

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Journal Article
Health Policy, 2017, 121 (7), pp. 816 - 822
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© 2017 Elsevier B.V. Objective To examine general practice accreditation stakeholders’ perspectives and experiences to identify program strengths and areas for improvements. Design, setting and participants Individual (n = 2) and group (n = 9) interviews were conducted between September 2011–March 2012 with 52 stakeholders involved in accreditation in Australian general practices. Interviews were recorded, transcribed and thematically analysed. Member checking activities in April 2016 assessed the credibility and currency of the findings in light of current reforms. Results Overall, participants endorsed the accreditation program but identified several areas of concern. Noted strengths of the program included: program ownership, peer review and collaborative learning; access to Practice Incentives Program payments; and, improvements in safety and quality. Noted limitations in these and other aspects of the program offer potential for improvement: evidence for the impact of accreditation; resource demands; clearer outcome measures; and, specific experiences of accreditation. Conclusions The effectiveness of accreditation as a strategy to improve safety and quality was shaped by the attitudes and experience of stakeholders. Strengths and weaknesses in the accreditation program influence, and are influenced by, stakeholder engagement and disengagement. After several accreditation cycles, the sector has the opportunity to reflect on, review and improve the process. This will be important if the continued or extended engagement of practices is to be realised to assure the continuation and effectiveness of the accreditation program.
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