Quality Improvement at AAHRPP

Responsive yet Rigorous

By definition, a quality accreditation program must be rigorous. Otherwise, it would not add value. The challenge is to walk the fine line between rigor and unnecessary burden. AAHRPP responds with a three-pronged approach designed to continually improve the accreditation process:

  • We continually review policies and practices with an eye toward increasing efficiency and effectiveness.
  •  We encourage organizations—accredited and non-accredited—to ask questions and provide feedback.
  •  We listen to feedback and make adjustments when appropriate.

The following improvements illustrate recent responses to input from organizations that have completed the AAHRPP accreditation process. 

  • More precise instructions: We have updated application forms to provide clearer steps for formatting documents to be submitted to AAHRPP and for responding to AAHRPP’s requests for additional information.
  • Greater continuity between Step 1 and Step 2 of the accreditation process: We are piloting a model in which the site visitor who reviews an organization’s Step 1 application will also be assigned to the team involved in Step 2, the on-site evaluation. We believe this change will streamline the process for both site visitors and organizations and will help ensure that peer review drives the entire accreditation process. 
  • Fewer on-site interviews: We are taking a more targeted approach to selecting people to be interviewed. Our goal is to conduct fewer but more in-depth interviews and to focus on key individuals from an organization’s human research protection program (HRPP).  
  • More integrated records review: We are requesting a more comprehensive list of records to document how well the HRPP functions, but will single out fewer individual protocol files for site visitors to review.

We welcome comments and suggestions on the changes described above and any aspect of the accreditation process. To provide feedback, please call AAHRPP and ask for the Quality Improvement Group.