Many state and local public health agencies have developed accreditation systems and are utilizing quality improvement (QI) methods and tools to improve the public health infrastructure. Development of strategies to support and build the capacity of the public health workforce to apply QI can help advance these efforts.
This article describes the adaptation and creation of a standardized QI training program for local health departments (LHDs), explores the effectiveness of the program in increasing the confidence of the LHD staff to apply QI methods and tools, and discusses lessons learned from the first cohort of the program.
An existing program designed for health care professionals was pilot tested, adapted, and used in 8 LHDs. A formative evaluation of the new public health QI training program was conducted through a hybrid internal and external evaluation model. Pre/postsurveys were used to measure participant satisfaction and the capacity of LHD staff to conduct QI.
Staff from 8 LHDs successfully completed the program and 94% of participants reported that they were satisfied with the overall training program. Seventy percent of participants reported a higher perceived confidence in conducting a QI project, and all participants reported sharing QI tools and methods with their coworkers.
These findings suggest that QI training programs using methods and tools previously applied in health care and other industries can be successfully adapted to public health. Although additional studies are needed to validate the results, this training model can be used to inform future work in developing a standardized QI training program in public health.