196066 Incorporating Quality Improvement into the Culture of a Local Health Department

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 9:30 AM

Kristen Wenrich, MPH , Chronic Disease Department, Bethlehem Health Bureau, Bethlehem, PA
Objective: To improve accurate collection, processing, maintenance, and preliminary analysis of health data by establishing a reliable process for data collection, processing, and reporting for 100% of the Bethlehem Health Bureau's program areas.

Methods: NACCHO's Self-Assessment Tool was utilized to identify the Health Bureau's strengths and areas for improvement related to the operational indicators for each essential public health service. The area of data collection, processing, and maintenance was selected as an area to target for improvement. Interviews were then conducted with staff to determine areas of weakness in regard to data collection, processing, and maintenance for each program area. Issues identified during the interview phase were then examined further by utilizing a prioritization matrix and root cause analysis. A process for data collection, processing, and maintenance was developed during a three-day mapping event.

Results: A standard process was created for data collection. This process eliminated various forms of waste and increased the quality the Bethlehem Health Bureau's data collection system. A standard data collection system, utilized by all Health Bureau programs, allowed the Health Bureau to utilize data to improve programs, to better respond to the needs of the community, and ultimately publish a health report card for residents and community partners. Nineteen issues originally identified in the program interview phase were again revisited after the pilot to determine if the process will improve or address each item. All but one of the issues was able to be resolved through this new process.

Conclusions: The quality improvement project gave the Bethlehem Health Bureau the opportunity to conduct an internal assessment of the Health Bureau's capacity in various areas and empowered the Health Bureau to create change. The Bethlehem Health Bureau has incorporated quality improvement into its core operations and culture.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the quality improvement strategies and tools a local health department utilized to improve data collection, processing, and maintenance. 2. Demonstrate how the quality improvement project led to the elimination of various forms of waste and increased the quality of a key public health performance standard.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been involved with quality improvement for the past three years and have attended several quality improvement facilitator trainings including the following: Basic Training for Continuous Improvement Event Leaders, Mapping, ACE-Root Cause and Effect, Process Kaizen, Workplace Organization and Visual Controls, and Mistake Proofing. I currently serve on the Continuous Improvement Team for the City of Bethlehem and facilitate quality improvement events and present courses to City of Bethlehem employees related to quality improvement. I have facilitated quality improvement events that have led to the improvement of the permitting process for restaurants, the improvement of the organization and management of information in the Mayor's Office, the improvement of contract turn-around time in the Legal Bureau, and the improvement of the Health Bureau's response during an outbreak situation. Additionally, I also serve as the lead for quality improvement within the Health Bureau and spearheaded the project that I am proposing to present.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.