249860 Quality Improvement in Foodborne Illness Prevention, Detection and Intervention: A local health department's quality improvement project

Monday, October 31, 2011

Hillary S. Harris, MS, MPH, CPH , Public Health Services, Yellowstone City/County Health Department d.b.a. RiverStone Health, Billings, MT
RiverStone Health (the local health department in Yellowstone County, Montana) has struggled to effectively identify foodborne illness outbreaks thereby further reducing the spread of infection. The primary barriers to an effective response are the lack of consistency in reporting procedures and follow-up actions for illness reports. This inconsistency has led to multiple problems including the duplication of work, rework, and the failure to recognize outbreaks early. In 2008 RiverStone Health launched a Quality Improvement (QI) project focusing on foodborne illness prevention, detection and intervention. The short term objectives of this project included early detection of foodborne disease events, reporting events in a timely manner, and intervening to prevent illness. The project worked with a diverse team of public health practitioners and utilized various QI methods including Failure Modes and Effect Analysis, Plan Do Study Act and Fishbone Diagrams. This presentation will describe the QI project with a focus on the challenges faced in implementing a QI project in a local health department (staff resistance, lack of QI training, developing evaluation methods) and the solutions to overcoming these challenges. Data will be presented to show how this project altered staff attitudes regarding QI. In addition, the presentation will explain how the project was used as a catalyst to prepare for accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board. This project is a prime example of how to successfully apply QI in a health department and discusses subject area of widespread interest to which every local health department can relate.

Learning Areas:
Environmental health sciences
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe challenges in implementing quality improvement projects in a local health department 2. Identify quality improvement methods that can be utilized with minimal quality improvement background 3. Demonstrate staff attitude changes following the completion of a successful quality improvement project 4. Demonstrate the relationship between practice-based QI and accreditation requirements

Keywords: Quality Improvement, Accreditation

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I oversee health promotion and disease prevention programs at a local health department and participate in outbreak investigations.
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.