Quality Improvement and Collaboration: Improving Animal Bite Follow-Up


Impact Statement: 
Taking the bite out of labor intensive reporting and delays though community collaboration and use of QI tools and methods to increase the number of animal bite reports submitted to the health department in a timely fashion.

For Oneida County Health Department (OCHD), the animal bite follow-up process relies on several collaborating partners: law enforcement, veterinarians, and the health department. After tracking animal bite reports, OCHD staff realized that most animal bite reports were not submitted to the health department by law enforcement within the 48 hours indicated in the protocol. A group of four OCHD staff members were on the animal bite follow-up quality improvement (QI) project team and created the aim statement. 

The process began with a meeting with local law enforcement to discuss the animal bite follow-up policy, procedure, and documentation forms. Law enforcement provided feedback on the forms and requested that OCHD create a simple one-pager for animal bite follow-up guidelines that deputies could have in their vehicles for easy viewing. Additionally, animal bite forms have been standardized for all law enforcement agencies in the county. A new animal quarantine order was drafted and approved by local law enforcement. Local veterinarians were educated on the responsibilities of law enforcement, the health department, and their business as they relate to animal bite follow-up. Oneida County then drafted a policy and procedure to reflect all of the revisions to the animal bite follow-up process. Finally, OCHD hosted a seminar from the state public health veterinarian for all local law enforcement, veterinarians, and OCHD staff members.

Before the project, bite report submissions within 48 hours ranged from 15% to 30%. Animal bite reporting within 48 hours was as high as 52% in 2014. Benefits of this project include increased staff efficiency and improved communication among partners.

Organization that conducted the QI initiative: 

Waksmonski, K. Public Health Quality Improvement Exchange. Quality Improvement and Collaboration: Improving Animal Bite Follow-Up. Mon, 11/16/2015 - 14:20. Available at https://phqix.org/content/quality-improvement-and-collaboration-improving-animal-bite-follow. Accessed May 20, 2024.

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