Headquarter's Report: Audiology Practice Accreditation Update

Author: Stephanie Czuhajewski, CAE, Executive Director

ADA volunteers have been hard at work planning and developing the Audiology Practice Accreditation Program to promote quality and encourage continual performance improvement for participating clinics, through a combination of self-evaluation and external evaluation protocols.

Medical practice accreditation has a rich history of providing for recognition of voluntary activities undertaken by clinics and hospitals, directed at improving the quality of care. The accreditation process often results in improvements to professional services offered to the public over time and serves to elevate not only individual clinics and institutions, but the professions, industries, and patients they serve. The ADA Audiology Practice Accreditation Program is designed to recognize audiology clinics that meet or exceed published accreditation standards (p. 39).
In 2018, a group of 10 audiologists, from different practice settings around the country, convened in Atlanta where they were shut in a room for two days and tasked with putting together the bones of the ADA Audiology Practice Accreditation Program. In the first 48 hours, initial research was conducted, debate and discussion ensued, and the first outline for the standards was developed. Over the next several months, volunteers refined the outline into a formal standards document draft. Once the draft was finalized, a different set of approximately two-dozen audiologists and practice managers engaged in peer review and provided consultation to the working group.

The audiology practice standards were revised to incorporate recommendations submitted during the peer-review process and the next draft of the standards was produced. The refined draft was disseminated to ADA members, along with a call for comments. The comment period remained open for 45 days.

Armed with thoughtful feedback and suggestions from ADA members, the working group carried out a subsequent review and completed final revisions to the ADA Audiology Practice Accreditation Standards. The standards were approved by the working group, and the ADA Board of Directors in October 2018, and were officially presented to ADA members at the 2018 AuDacity conference in Orlando, Florida.
Coming soon…
Using the approved standards, the working group is now focused on building the accreditation program. Members of the working group are currently working to identify proposed criteria that can be used by auditors to verify that the standards have been met, putting together resources for audiology practices to use, adopt, modify, and consider as they prepare for accreditation, and evaluating options for recruiting and training the auditors who will be tasked with auditing practices. Stay tuned!