Context: Strengthening the Community of Practice for Public Health Improvement is a 2-year initiative that facilitates the exchange of best practices and builds capacity among the nation's health departments to become accredited and conduct quality improvement (QI). Launched as the Public Health Accreditation Board opened its doors to receive the first accreditation applications from health departments, the Community of Practice for Public Health Improvement is the next stage in the National Network of Public Health Institutes' efforts to nurture and expand a community of practice focused on accreditation and QI. A key component of the Community of Practice for Public Health Improvement is the QI Award Program, which provides small grants and distance-based QI coaching to state, local, tribal, and territorial health departments.
Objective: To understand the efficacy of distance-based QI coaching.
Design: The QI coaching model was evaluated using Web-based satisfaction surveys along with programmatic data collected through progress reports, coaching logs, and meetings.
Setting: During 2 QI Award Program cycles, 60 health departments (30 departments per cycle) received $5000 and QI coaching to engage in QI projects that address locally identified priorities and connect to efforts to prepare for public health accreditation.
Participants: Data in this article represent findings from the first 30 sites and 9 coaches who participated in cycle 1.
Main Outcome Measure(s): QI coaching hours and methods, sites' impressions of QI coaching, sites' accomplishments due to coaching, and suggestions for coaching improvement.
Results: Approximately 80% of QI satisfaction survey respondents indicated that they strongly agreed or agreed that distance-based coaching is effective. Sites also reported increased experience with QI processes, initiation of QI spread within the health department, and additional activity within and beyond the project team due to the QI Award Program.