Accreditation: Maintain Accreditation - Applying for Reaccreditation
Accredited Organizations renew their accreditations three years after the initial accreditation and every five years thereafter, by performing the same self-assessment and gap analysis required for the initial accreditation application. You do not need to pay a new application fee to renew your accreditation; annual fees cover the costs of reaccreditation.
The reaccreditation process is the same as the initial accreditation process: Conducting a Self-Assessment, Building and Submitting an Application, Evaluation of Written Materials, Evaluation of Practice, and Council Review.
This time around should be easier. You know the AAHRPP Domains, Accreditation Standards, and Elements. Depending on your Organization’s approach to accreditation, though, you could already be falling behind in the reaccreditation process.
Tips for Putting Together an Application for Reaccreditation
Your Organization earned accreditation, in part, because of its commitment to continuous improvement. It is only natural, then, that some of your practices, policies, and procedures will change in the three years after you submit your original accreditation application. Each time a change is approved, update the application immediately. Treat it as a “live document,” and you will always have an accurate record of your Organization’s efforts to safeguard research participants.
You also will spare yourself the time and frustration of researching three years’ worth of changes just before the application is due to AAHRPP. Check the AAHRPP website periodically, attend conferences, and network with other accredited organizations to stay abreast of accreditation updates and innovative practices.
This applies to people as well as to paperwork.
Staff changes and unforeseen events can derail reaccreditation efforts. If possible, have one or two staff members who are familiar with the application, are comfortable maintaining it, and know exactly where you stand in the reaccreditation process.
As always, back up the electronic version of the document, and have a current hard copy on file.
Your reaccreditation application is due 12 months before the regularly scheduled Council on Accreditation meeting. Use this meeting date to establish the time frame for your self-evaluation, which is an integral component of reaccreditation.
Three to six months before your application submission deadline, start the same detailed self-assessment that you conducted for your original accreditation. Typically, this should occur at approximately the same time that you are preparing your second annual report. The self-assessment will help you evaluate your Human Research Protection Program and ensure that you’re up to date on AAHRPP’s interpretation of the accreditation Standards.
If your Organization is planning a major change, if possible, delay it until after reaccreditation, so you can give accreditation—and the organizational change—the attention that each deserves.
Maintain the relationships that you built during the original accreditation process. Involve others and ask for help.
Continue to emphasize the value of accreditation, and keep organizational officials and co-workers informed of your progress.
Make sure that procedural and policy changes are communicated and adopted throughout the Organization. Remember: Documentation alone is not enough; policies and procedures must be put into practice.