Online Program

Arizona Becomes a Leader in Improving Timeliness and Transparency of their Newborn Screening System: Lessons Learned from a State Health Department

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 1:30 p.m. - 1:50 p.m.

William Humble, MPH, Arizona Department of Health Services, Pheonix, AZ
Background With many of Arizona’s residents residing in rural or frontier areas, Arizona faced challenges in the timeliness of newborn screening samples reaching the state lab. In 2012, seventeen percent of all newborn screening samples arrived at the state lab five or more days after collection. Objective: Discuss how a state health department went from one of the worst in the nation in newborn screening transit time to one of the best. Methods: Arizona Department of Health Services (AZDHS) Director set newborn screening as an agency priority, and developed an interagency Transit Time taskforce. AZDHS partnered with regional and national organizations to create a broad group of stakeholders invested in making statewide improvements to newborn screening. Working with partners, AZDHS conducted hospital surveys to find barriers to expedient newborn screening transit time. Results: AZDHA provided the opportunity for all parties involved in newborn sample transit to provide input to improve the process. AZDHS implemented new statewide courier services to provide increased pick-up times and expanded the state laboratory hours to include Saturday and holidays. AZDHS created a public website on sample transit time to improve transparency and drive competition among hospitals. Arizona now boasts one of the fastest newborn screening blood transit times in the country with 99 percent of first specimens collected at birthing hospitals received at the laboratory within one day of collection. Conclusion: Despite facing challenges, AZDHS worked collaboratively with hospitals and partner organizations to create systemic changes that successfully transformed the state’s newborn screening system.

Learning Areas:

Public health administration or related administration
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines

Learning Objectives:
List steps taken by Arizona that led to improved newborn blood transit time. Describe the process Arizona used to increase transparency of newborn screening transit times. Explain best practices for state health departments in increasing timeliness of newborn screening.

Keyword(s): Maternal and Child Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As the director of Arizona’s Department of Health Services, I am responsible for all of the state’s newborn screening quality improvement efforts. I set the agency’s priority to improve newborn screening and oversaw the implementation of all of Arizona’s efforts to improve newborn screening quality.
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.