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Story of Measurable Improvement in Public Health

Name of Health Department/Agency: Public Health Solutions District Health Department
State: NE
Contact Name: Kim Buser
Contact Information: kbuser@phsneb.org
Date Added: 6/27/2011
Program/Topic Area: Workforce competency
QI techniques/tools:  Flowchart, Histogram, Multi-voting, Pre/post test survey
Description of the process and intervention: Results of an agency self-assessment and the multi-voting technique were used to select the employee orientation process as an area for improvement in the agency. Being a relatively new organization, the issue of adequate orientation was priority. The goal was to increase staff knowledge of basic public health functions and their specific role in the agency from 57% to 100% of staff receiving 100% on a test of knowledge. A root cause analysis revealed that the issue centered around the lack of public health experience among new staff. The improvement theory was that if a comprehensive orientation program inclusive of basic public health functions, then all employees will increase their knowledge of public health. A pre-test was administered and revealed that every employee with the department less than one year missed at least one question. Each “newer” employee (3 total) participated in a “test run” of a new employee orientation. This included detailed checklists of orientation content presented by department heads, as well as a comprehensive new employee manual with valuable information on the district public health philosophy and policies/procedures of PHS. After a complete orientation, the “newer” employees took a post-test. Each employee received 100% correct on the post test.
Result/outcome: As a result of the comprehensive training program, the percent of staff that scored a 100% on the post-test increased from 57% to 100%.
Next Steps: Policies and procedures have been put in place to use the new employee orientation process in a standard manner. Future plans include the possibility of assigning a “co-worker” mentor to each newly hired employee as well as revisions to the employee manual. The process will be re-evaluated every 6 months for effectiveness and any needed revisions.

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