What is the National Association for Healthcare Quality?

Anyone working in health care knows that “quality” is an essential aspect of all fields of this profession. However, the term has taken on new dimensions in recent years. “Quality” in health care simply no longer refers to the end result of treatment or a procedure. It also refers to a health care establishment’s handling of every aspect of a patient’s experience within that facility, from the patient being admitted for treatment to how billing is handled. But how can these facilities ascertain in a uniform way if criteria for a quality experience is being met? Likewise, how can healthcare providers working at these facilities get the support and training that they need to best support their patients?

Is It Possible To Score Quality?

One way the “criteria for quality” is measured in the healthcare industry is by becoming a certified professional health quality provider. To be recognized as one, an individual must “sit” or take an official examination administered by the National Association For Healthcare Quality (NAHQ) Certification Commission.

This organization was founded in 1975 to provide everyone working within healthcare opportunities to achieve continuous improvement, whether directly involved in medical treatment, such as nursing, or dealing with the more administrative aspects of healthcare, such as accounting.

In addition to formulating and overseeing the administration of the Certified Professional Healthcare Quality provider examination, the National Association For Healthcare Quality provides training for its members. Training includes preparation for the CPHQ exam, as well as general training within specific fields.

Is The CPHQ Exam Mandatory For Those In The Health Care Profession?

The CPHQ exam is the world’s only accredited international voluntary certification program. First offered in 1984, it is considered “the gold standard” in determining the best professionals working within the healthcare industry.

While getting and remaining CPHQ certified is not mandatory, there are numerous benefits to doing so. CPHQ certification can open doors in terms of employment, and help employees to retain jobs, given the increasing cutbacks and downsizing within this industry. It can also increase the earning potential and promotion opportunities of those holding CPHQ certifications.

Is There A Downside to This Certification?

While there are no professional stigmas attached to being CPHQ certified, actually passing the exam is apparently is easier said than done. The pass rate for the exam is at around 70%. In the United States alone, despite much interest in this program, fewer than ten thousand healthcare providers are CPHQ certified. Is this exam filled with incredibly difficult or arcane questions? No, but it does require diligent study and prep work as test takers are allowed very few wrong answers.

Must One Be A Member Of The NAHQ In Order To Take The CPHQ?

One does not have to join the actual organization in order to take its certification exam, but one must register through the organization’s website in order to take it. NAHQ members are given a sizable discount in exam fees over non-members. It’s also possible for members to take exam prep training offered by NAHQ, though it should be noted that a fee is charged for this training, and it offers no “secrets” or advantages beyond other CPHQ courses.

So Is It Worth Becoming A Member Of The NAHQ?

In addition to offering CPHQ courses at reduced rates, the NAHQ offers online training, job postings, and a feature called “CPHQ Contacts” which links certificate holders with facilities with positions to offer them. The organization also offers newsletters with regularly updated news. As annual membership in it is still under two hundred dollars, and it is still the healthcare field’s only professional organization for healthcare quality excellence, joining it is well worth considering. Those who do so may find that it provides not only a professional edge, but a chance to grow intellectually within their field as well.