Improving the Paperwork Process for Rabies-Susceptible Animal Bites


Impact Statement: 
When a rabies susceptible animal has bitten a human, it is imperative that health departments responsible for the investigation and quarantine of these animals respond a timely manner. A local health department in Oregon used a PDSA approach to reduce the time to process rabies bites reports by 29%, saving about 30 hours each year and improving employee morale in the process.

Marion County Environmental Health, in Oregon, investigates and quarantines rabies-susceptible animals that have bitten a human. The investigation and quarantine process has multiple steps, and the paperwork responsibilities involved have been assigned to three support staff members. When these staff members examined the possibilities of a quality improvement (QI) project, they believed that the main problem they all wanted to tackle was reducing the time it took to process the animal bite paperwork. As a team, the Environmental Health staff used a workflow tool, which had a minimum of 10 steps to complete the process for each animal bite. Next, the staff asked themselves how much time it takes to process the paperwork. In the baseline study, each step was timed and recorded to understand which step might have the greatest benefit if an improvement was instituted. The next step was to do a cause-and-effect analysis. The team chose to use a fishbone diagram. After that step, the team redefined its original aim statement. The statement was tested, and staff were able to reduce the time by 29% using the same time study method. The side benefits included better staff morale, less stress, a more efficient work environment, and better customer service. On the basis of the number of animal bites in 2013, the team saved a grand total of 29.62 hours per year.

Organization that conducted the QI initiative: 
Marion County Health Department

Stegall, C. Public Health Quality Improvement Exchange. Improving the Paperwork Process for Rabies-Susceptible Animal Bites. Thu, 11/12/2015 - 11:05. Available at Accessed June 22, 2024.

Submission Status: 
2 users have voted.


Submitted by mthorne on

I would love to see your 10 step workflow tool. This is an area we struggle with as well.


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