Mobile Food Unit Pre-Opening and Medallion Renewal Inspections


Impact Statement: 
Mobile food units (MFUs) in Houston, Texas, now experience a faster, more efficient inspection process thanks to a Kaizen event held by Houston Health Department. The average time to complete the physical inspection and administrative paperwork has decreased from 3 hours to 30 minutes. Moreover, the health department has decreased the number of sanitarians assigned to MFU inspections from three to one, leaving two sanitarians free to complete their routine field inspections in a timely fashion.

The quality improvement (QI) initiative was meant to improve the MFU inspection process by focusing on pre-opening and medallion renewal inspections. 

The team used the Kaizen event approach to complete all steps of the improvement cycle in 5 days. The steps were as follows:

  1. Understand the gap/goal and the current state in order to identify waste in the targeted work process.
  2. Analyze the root causes of the prioritized issues to identify solutions.
  3. Develop and test solutions to learn.
  4. Continue to develop and test solutions to learn.
  5. Install improvements and create a system for ongoing improvement. 

As the event progressed, many QI and change management methods and techniques were applied.

The expected results were as follows:

  1. Reduce time to complete administrative activities for inspections.
  2. Reduce time to complete physical inspections.
  3. Reduce the amount of time that MFU operators wait to have inspections completed.
  4. Reduce the number of inspectors dedicated to MFU pre-opening and medallion renewal.
  5. Reduce the amount of staff time dedicated to MFU pre-opening and medallion renewal.
Organization that conducted the QI initiative: 
Houston Health Department

Hines, R. Public Health Quality Improvement Exchange. Mobile Food Unit Pre-Opening and Medallion Renewal Inspections. Fri, 11/18/2016 - 14:10. Available at Accessed April 14, 2024.

Submission Status: 
In Progress
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klcain's picture
Submitted by klcain on

What fantastic results! Congratulations!

1 user has voted.

Katherine L. Cain
Manager of Strategic Performance and Partnerships
New Orleans Health Department

Robert Hines's picture
Submitted by Robert Hines on

Thank you Katherine!

0 users have voted.

Robert A. Hines, MSPH, ASQ CQIA

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