Online Program

Implementing a quality improvement program with the NJ department of health

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 12:30 p.m. - 12:50 p.m.

Colleen McKay Wharton, MA, MCHES, New Jersey Public Health Training Center, University of Medicine and Dentistry of NJ - School of Public Health, Piscataway, NJ
Colette Lamothe-Galette, MPH, Policy and Strategic Planning, NJ Department of Health, Trenton, NJ
Quality improvement (QI), a concept long embedded in corporate America and the private healthcare system, continues to expand into the public health arena. The application of QI processes in public health has been the focus of numerous grants, and is in fact a required Standard (9.2) to be documented when health departments seek voluntary accreditation. The New Jersey Public Health Training Center (NJPHTC), based at the University of Medicine and Dentistry – School of Public Health, provided hands-on training in quality improvement processes to staff of the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH). The provision of this training would enable NJDOH to enhance the skill and capacity of its workforce in the application of QI techniques to daily work activities; provide evidence of the development and implementation of QI processes which are integrated into organizational practice, programs and processes (a critical component of accreditation-readiness); contribute to completion of key deliverables of the department's ‘Strengthening Public Health Infrastructure For Improved Health Outcomes' grant; and inform future NJDOH quality improvement training strategies. Over a period of five months (June – October 2012), an alternating series of web-based and classroom learning sessions were implemented, to help guide participants through their selected quality improvement processes. Ongoing telephone support was provided as needed throughout the time frame. Over 25 staff members from several independent units participated, with each team identifying a key process to address, and applying QI processes such as flow charting, fishbone diagrams, nominal group process and others, to identify opportunities for improvement. A team approach was essential to the success of the effort, and resulted in improved / streamlined processes with significant time and/or cost savings, and overall improved morale within program areas. These outcomes reinforced – and validated – the value of quality improvement processes in governmental public health.

Learning Areas:

Administration, management, leadership

Learning Objectives:
Describe the implementation of a foundational quality improvement training program for state health department employees Discuss changes in attitudes and knowledge of program participants

Keyword(s): Quality Improvement, Health Departments

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was responsible for the coordination and implementation of this quality improvement (QI) initiative at the NJ Department of Health. In addition, I was the lead project consultant for New Jersey's participation in the Multi-State Learning Collaborative, an initiative to help train local health department staff in QI concepts, and prepare for accreditation. Finally, I have lead QI activities for a regional health commission and a multi-agency public health partnership in central New Jersey.
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.