Office of Epidemiology and Environmental Health Division Align Priorities -leading to a 50% reduction in time


Impact Statement: 
Fast and effective investigations into foodborne illness outbreaks are an important part of a food safety program because they reduce the time that people are exposed to a pathogen. Toledo-Lucas County reduced the cycle time for an effective investigation and closure of foodborne outbreak cases from 44 to 22 days-- a 50% reduction!

The Toledo–Lucas County Health Department (TLCHD) focused its quality improvement (QI) efforts on improving coordination, communication, and the time of completion of outbreak cases. A mean of 44 days was the average open-to-close time for cases of foodborne outbreaks from January 2009 to October 2011. The TLCHD team believes the ability to fine-tune and improve foodborne outbreak procedures will enhance coordination between epidemiologists, registered sanitarians, and their intended targets and partners. Improvement of procedures and coordination will enable TLCHD to ensure the most efficient and effective response to foodborne outbreak cases. After it completed this QI project, TLCHD lowered its open-to-close mean time for foodborne outbreak cases from 44 days to 22 days—a 50% reduction.

Improvement was measured by obtaining data from foodborne outbreak reports via TLCHD epidemiologists. Specifically, mean days per case were calculated from the “date created” and “close date” portions of the foodborne outbreak reports.

Organization that conducted the QI initiative: 
Toledo–Lucas County Health Department

Zgodzinski, E. Public Health Quality Improvement Exchange. Office of Epidemiology and Environmental Health Division Align Priorities -leading to a 50% reduction in time. Wed, 10/09/2013 - 12:55. Available at Accessed June 22, 2024.

Submission Status: 
3 users have voted.


Submitted by cstegall on

This was a great project that we could adapt to our situation, during the accreditation process this was an area for improvement.

Thanks for sharing

0 users have voted.

Carolyn Stegall, REHS