5 Methods to Ensure the Failure of Your Accreditation Project

Running a successful accreditation project takes skill, energy, and resources… but getting your project to fail is easy, if you follow this advice:

Overload your staff. Assign the primary responsibility for the project to your IRB Chair or Administrator, without providing any additional staff resources to support him/her.  Choose the busiest people in your organization to serve on your project team, especially if they travel a lot!  Keep expectations for regular job responsibilities the same, while assuring your staff that heads will roll if accreditation is not achieved in the reasonable 3-month timeline established.

Disregard skills and strengths.  Be sure the person in charge of project communication is anti-social, and assign document revision responsibility to the people who procrastinate the most.  It’s also helpful to make sure there is nobody with project management experience on your team, since it won’t be necessary to be organized or pay attention to silly things like budget, timeline, action items, roles & responsibilities, tracking changes, etc.

Procrastinate.  It’s important to wait until the last minute to convert your documents to PDF and assemble the final package. Everyone loves the excitement of figuring out how to solve technical problems at 3am on the day before a deadline!  For an added thrill, make sure you’re out of toner for your printer so that you can hunt for a 24-hour office supply store too!

Decentralize your documents.  To make sure everything is prevented from being backed up regularly, it’s important to store your policy documents on several computers.  It’s helpful if these computers are over 5 years old, and are regularly brought home and stored on the kitchen table next to pitchers of water or other liquids.  When your data is lost, you’ll be able to reconstruct everything with a clean slate, instead of worrying about restoring from a remote server.

Underestimate the usefulness of technology.  Be sure you have no budget for information technology – computers and software are overrated for improving efficiency, working collaboratively, or automating repetitive tasks.  Why invest a modest amount of money in time- and energy-saving technology when you could WASTE BOATLOADS doing it inefficiently?!?  You can always have your VP of Research help do document conversion and application assembly in the eleventh hour – it’s an excellent use of his or her time.

The challenge of educating people about AAHRPP accreditation

Attending the OHRP Conference in Ann Arbor last week, about half of the people stopping by our AccreditStation booth seemed to be unaware of AAHRPP accreditation.

The few people who had heard of AAHRPP seemed reluctant to embark on the journey toward accreditation because they are already overburdened with responsibilities and aren’t clear on the benefits of participating in the process.

Instead of talking about AccreditStation, we ended up providing basic information to people about accreditation, encouraging them to visit the AAHRPP website, attend conferences, and join the AAHRPP Accreditation Community on LinkedIn to educate themselves.

Our experience at this event is not atypical – as we work with our clients, we generally spend more time educating people about the process, referring them to appropriate resources, etc. than we do providing technical support!

So here’s the discussion: AAHRPP accreditation is so important to the quality of HRP programs – what else can AAHRPP be doing to spread their message? Since I’m guessing AAHRPP doesn’t have an unlimited marketing budget – How can people help advocate, educate, and get the word out? Or is this just the nature of trying to convince people to do something that is “good for them” but is not mandatory?

AAHRPP Conference Followup: Keep Your Connections Going on LinkedIn

We’re back from the 5th Annual AAHRPP Conference in Los Angeles, and we’re excited about all of the great connections we made again this year.  We heard over and over again that people are ready to make their accreditation process less painful by sharing lessons learned.  People are tired of feeling isolated, and want to communicate with their peers to share strategies for executing a successful accreditation project.

The best laid plans…

We know how easily life can get in the way of good intentions!  You return from the conference with a pile of business cards and every intention of following up with your new friends, but those business cards can quickly become buried under mountains of other work.  Before that happens this year, take action and establish new habits to keep yourself in the loop with minimum effort.

Social Networking Spotlight: LinkedIn

The great news is that there are a ton of social networking tools out there to help you stay connected!  There are a lot of services available, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed, so we’re just going to concentrate on one of them for now:  

LinkedIn.  Our favorite site for making professional connections is LinkedIn – it’s easy to use, and we’re already set up to create a network of people who share our passion for making accreditation less painful by sharing lessons learned.

  • Step 1: If you don’t already have one, create a professional profile on LinkedIn.
  • Step 2: Join the AAHRPP Accreditation Community Group
  • Step 3: Invite your colleagues to join LinkedIn or tell them about the group.
  • Step 4: Participate!  Start a discussion or add a news article of interest to the group.