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Driving Quality Improvement in Local Public Health Practice

Davis, Penney Berryman MPH; Solomon, Jessica MCP; Gorenflo, Grace MPH, RN

Journal of Public Health Management and Practice: January-February 2010 - Volume 16 - Issue 1 - p 67–71
doi: 10.1097/PHH.0b013e3181c2c7f7
Qi in Public Health Today

Objectives To understand what tools, resources, and assistance are needed for local health departments (LHDs) to successfully engage in quality improvement (QI) and to generate examples of successful QI efforts.

Methods With funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the National Association of County & City Health Officials supported 66 LHD demonstration sites between 2007 and 2009. The sites measured themselves against national standards and addressed priority areas for improvement through the application of QI techniques. We used on-line surveys, interviews, and informal collection of participant feedback to determine the usefulness of resources that were provided for QI efforts.

Results Participating LHDs lack a common understanding of formal QI. Several existing QI resources specifically geared to public health are very useful, and in-person assistance is highly valued.

Discussion The value of Web-based sessions is uncertain, and state and national meetings could provide accessible forums for in-person training. Dedicated time to training and implementation, coupled with widespread sharing of best practices and success stories, could enhance the uptake of QI efforts in LHDs. Additional studies regarding sustainability are needed to understand how to institutionalize QI.

This articles discusses tools, resources, and assistance that are needed for local health departments to successfully engage in quality improvement (QI) and to generate examples of successful QI efforts.

Penney Berryman Davis, MPH, is Senior Analyst, Accreditation and Quality Improvement, National Association of County and City Health Officials, Washington, District of Columbia.

Jessica Solomon, MCP, is Program Manager, Accreditation and Quality Improvement, National Association of County and City Health Officials, Washington, District of Columbia.

Grace Gorenflo, MPH, RN, is Director, Accreditation and Quality Improvement, National Association of County and City Health Officials, Washington, District of Columbia.

Corresponding Author: Penney Berryman Davis, MPH, National Association of County & City Health Officials, Washington, DC 20036 (pdavis@naccho.org).

The authors acknowledge the contributions of Carolyn Leep, MS, MPH, and Travis Parker Lee of National Association of County & City Health Officials (NACCHO), as well as the following individuals from the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago: Michael Meit, MA, MPH; Jessica Kronstadt, MPP; and Kimberly Williams, MS. NACCHO also express its gratitude to Liza Corso, MPA, and Dennis Lenaway, PhD, MPH, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Pamela Russo, MD, MPH, at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for their funding and support of these efforts. The authors extend their sincere appreciation to all the participating health departments in the Accreditation Preparation and Quality Improvement Demonstration Sites Project as well.

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.