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The National Public Health Performance Standards: Driving Quality Improvement in Public Health Systems

Corso, Liza C. MPA; Lenaway, Dennis PhD, MPH; Beitsch, Leslie M. MD, JD; Landrum, Laura B. MUPP; Deutsch, Heidi MA, MSDM

Journal of Public Health Management & Practice:
doi: 10.1097/PHH.0b013e3181c02800
Qi in Public Health Today
Abstract

Since its inception in 1998, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Public Health Performance Standards Program (NPHPSP) has helped lay the groundwork for public health quality improvement (QI) activities at the state and local levels. This article describes how the NPHPSP has promoted QI through its instruments and guidance and how it has continually strengthened the focus on QI over the years. The NPHPSP Version 2 instruments and enhanced guidance have been designed to more strongly reinforce QI and catalyze the transition from assessment to action. Despite positive reports from some state and local users that emphasize the value the NPHPSP holds for those that do successfully move forward with improvement actions, 2005 evaluation results from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials and the National Association of County and City Health Officials indicated challenges in transitioning the assessments results into performance improvement. More recent data are promising; a 2009 postassessment survey of early Version 2 respondents indicates that the majority (75% of all respondents) report action in one or more performance improvement steps. The NPHPSP has played an important role in fostering QI in many states and local jurisdictions. Furthermore, its experiences and lessons learned in supporting QI have helped to pave the way for other initiatives, such as the emerging national accreditation system for state and local health departments.

In Brief

This article describes how the National Public Health Performance Standards Program has promoted quality improvement through its instruments and guidance and how it has continually strengthened the focus on quality improvement over the years

Author Information

Liza C. Corso, MPA, is Team Leader, Office of Public Health Systems Performance, Office of the Chief of Public Health Practice, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia.

Dennis Lenaway, PhD, MPH, is Director, Office of Public Health Systems and Performance, Office of the Chief of Public Health Practice, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia.

Leslie M. Beitsch, MD, JD, is Professor of Health Policy, Florida State University College of Medicine, Tallahassee, and Director, Center for Medicine and Public Health, Tallahassee, Florida. He currently serves as Associate Dean for Health Affairs.

Laura B. Landrum, MUPP, is Consultant, Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, Washington, District of Columbia.

Heidi Deutsch, MA, MSDM, is Program Manager, National Association of County and City Health Officials, Washington, District of Columbia.

Corresponding Author: Liza C. Corso, MPA, Office of Public Health Systems Performance, Office of the Chief of Public Health Practice, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd, Bldg 21, MS-D30, Atlanta, GA 30333 (Lcorso@cdc.gov).

The findings and conclusions presented here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.