Improving Referral Rates for an Early Childhood Home Visitation Program
The Clark County Health Department’s quality improvement (QI) initiative goal was to improve the number of families benefiting from home visitation services provided by Kentucky’s Health Access Nurturing Development Services (HANDS) program. For a patient to be offered home visitation from HANDS, a referral screen is completed first, followed by a parent assessment. The referral screen is most often conducted at a family planning or Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) appointment and does not require much of the patient’s time. The parent assessment takes longer and usually requires a return visit to the health department or occurs at the patient’s home. HANDS services are offered free to patients once it is determined that they would benefit from the home visitation program. For a referral screen to be considered “assessed,” a parent assessment must be completed. The yearly audit revealed an opportunity for improvement in the rate of referral screens assessed. The project aim statement was to increase the percentage of referral screens assessed from 24% to 36%.
The QI team used the Plan, Do, Study, Act (PDSA) process to examine the referral screen assessment process. Process mapping, brainstorming, the 5-Whys, run charts, and cause-and-effect diagramming were among the QI tools used to manage the project. After identifying root causes and developing improvement theories, process changes were implemented for 3 months. To evaluate performance, the percentage of referral screens assessed was measured and referral screen audits were conducted to capture reasons why a referral screen was not being assessed. The team met and exceeded its aim statement goal of 36%, with an average referral screen assessment rate of 54% during the study period. The HANDS team adopted the changes into its standard process and will continue to track performance measures to sustain the gains made from this QI initiative.
Willett, E. Public Health Quality Improvement Exchange. Improving Referral Rates for an Early Childhood Home Visitation Program. Wed, 03/08/2017 - 14:38. Available at https://phqix.org/content/improving-referral-rates-early-childhood-home-visitation-program. Accessed March 1, 2024.