239546 Measuring public health program outcomes: Essential strategies for practice and financial stability

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 8:30 AM

Suzanne Plemmons, RN, MN, PHCNS-BC , Kitsap Public Health District, Bremerton, WA
Karen S. Martin, RN, MSN, FAAN , Martin Associates, Omaha, NE
Beth Lipton, DVM, MPH, CHP , Kitsap Public Health District, Bremerton, WA
Sandra Morales, RN, MSN , Kitsap Public Health District, Bremerton, WA
Yolanda Fong, RN, MN , Kitsap Public Health District, Bremerton, WA
Nancy Acosta, RN, BSN , Kitsap Public Health District, Bremerton, WA
Background and Issues: Generating valid and reliable data in local health departments is essential to quantify practice, produce reports for diverse audiences, meet the federal mandate for electronic health records (EHRs), and provide the highest quality care possible. Description: In 2003, Washington's public health nursing directors identified the need to select similar outcome measures to quantify the impact of their programs. Representatives from the state's 35 local jurisdictions developed an evidence-based action plan, selected the Omaha System as the standardized terminology for their multidisciplinary staff, and agreed that automated clinical information systems were essential. Kitsap County's leaders initiated the steps to actualize the plan locally. In 2005, they selected EHR software, and identified needed resources. Currently, public health nurses and other staff are proficient software users. They generate consistent, accurate, and meaningful data that describe their clients, the interventions they provide, and positive outcomes of care. Reports are shared within the health department and with the local community and colleagues in Washington confirming the quality of practice and value of the programs. Lessons Learned: The transition from an unstructured documentation system to an automated clinical information system in Kitsap County was a large paradigm shift. Multidisciplinary employees needed to embrace a shared vision and collaborate as partners with each other and their software vendor. Recommendations: The time is now for public health nurses to become involved with evidence-based action plans to generate measurable outcome data that are essential for improving practice, accountability, and financial stability.

Learning Areas:
Administration, management, leadership
Communication and informatics
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related nursing
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss the need to generate measurable outcome data for local health departments. 2. Discuss the process used to develop an outcomes measurement program in one local health department. 3. Describe the positive impact of evidence-based outcome data on practice and financial issues.

Keywords: Public Health Nursing, Outcome Measures

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been employed in public health for 23 years, and have been the Community Health Director at Kitsap Public Health District for 11 years. I helped organize the Washington Community Health Leadership Forum's (CHLF) state efforts and our local efforts to measure program outcomes for public health programs.
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.