Online Program

Wisconsin Takes Steps to Improve Quality of Newborn Screening System: Lessons Learned from a State Health Department

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 1:10 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Karen McKeown, RN, MSN, Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Madison, WI
Background: The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (WIDHS) and the Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene began a self-assessment of their newborn screening program in the summer of 2013 using the Newborn Screening and Technical Assistance and Evaluation Program (NewSTEPs) indicators. After the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper brought attention to the issue of newborn screening transit time, WIDHS partnered with other state agencies and state-wide organizations to improve their system. An Advisory Committee and an umbrella stakeholder group representing multiple organizations in the state and provided advice and guidance regarding the newborn screening program to WIDHS. Objective: Describe how Wisconsin used data measurement and transparency to improve their newborn screening transit time.  Methods: Beginning in January, 2013, the Wisconsin state laboratory began to issue monthly hospital reports of the transit times to identified contacts at the hospitals and technical assistance was delivered as needed. Results: The reports included key information missing from blood cards, and information on unsatisfactory specimens. Hospitals were able to request technical assistance and providers were notified when blood samples were received by the laboratory. Wisconsin conducted visits and calls to the hospitals, distributed education materials, and publically reported newborn screening data. Additional courier options were provided and the percent of specimens received in less than three days increased from 82.1 percent in January 2013 to 97.4 percent in November 2014. Conclusion: WIDHS leveraged its Newborn Screening Program, Advisory Committee, and umbrella stakeholder group to create changes that led to improved blood transit time and decreased unsatisfactory specimens.

Learning Areas:

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

Learning Objectives:
Describe structure in place in Wisconsin that facilitated quality improvement in the newborn screening program. 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 Administrator of the Wisconsin Division of Public Health, I oversee the direction and operations of seven bureaus and offices. I worked with multiple state agencies to spearhead Wisconsin’s newborn screening quality improvement efforts and continue to oversee their implementation and evaluation.
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.