Conducting Timely Investigations of Health Problems and Environmental Health Hazards in Fillmore County


Impact Statement: 
In Fillmore County Public Health department, the time from notification to investigation of health problems and environmental health hazards (animal bites, infectious diseases, and nuisances) took longer than desired. Data was collected to understand the current state; investigations ranged from 24-144 hours following notification. The QI project approach included the creating, tracking, applying, and auditing of standard operating procedures; updating of agreements; condensing of incident management guidelines; acquiring legal documentation related to health and environmental hazards; and developed a tracking system for recording labs, investigation results, and referral outcomes (PH-Doc). The team exceeded their goal; 100% of notifications were investigated within 24 hours.

Fillmore County Public Health (FCPH) in Minnesota used the rapid-cycle improvement method (Plan, Do, Check, Act [PDCA]/Plan, Do, Study, Act [PDSA]) to improve processes that will reduce response time, improve partnership collaborations, and reduce negative outcomes associated with public health issues and environmental health hazards. Collaboration among public health and local partnering agencies produced standard operating procedures and tracking procedures for public health issues and environmental health hazards. The new processes and tools developed were deployed, monitored, and adjusted to protect the well-being of the public and to reduce response time to hazards. FCPH used assessment tools within the Public Health Documentation System (PH-Doc), a real-time system with reporting features that can track both response time and efforts, to record cases and extract reports. This quality improvement (QI) project built agency capacity because all staff members are able to initiate these investigations and turn them over to appropriate staff within the department. This QI project served as a way to improve public health services while also assisting FCPH with completing measures associated with Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) Standard 2.1, which advances FCPH's accreditation efforts.

Organization that conducted the QI initiative: 

Pohlman, B. Public Health Quality Improvement Exchange. Conducting Timely Investigations of Health Problems and Environmental Health Hazards in Fillmore County. Thu, 12/17/2015 - 11:03. Available at Accessed July 25, 2024.

Submission Status: 
1 user has voted.