172011Mar

Health Department Leading the Way with Quality Improvement Initiative

Recent clinic changes increasing efficiency, cutting door-to-door time by 25%



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 17, 2011


BURLINGTON – A special team, comprised of Alamance County Health Department (ACHD) staff, have been on a mission.  While maintaining a full clinic schedule and other critical operations, their assignment has involved quick thinking and precise steps to ensure the efficient use of resources while improving overall client and patient satisfaction.  Enter the ACHD Quality Improvement (QI) Team.

The Alamance County Health Department is one of nine counties throughout the state involved in Phase II of the NC CPHQ Public Health QI 101 initiative.  Over the past few months, with the assistance of consultants from the N.C. Center for Public Health Quality (NC CPHQ) and N.C. State University’s Industrial Extension Service, the QI Team received training and applied their knowledge to pinpoint and eliminate wasteful activities to increase efficiency.

In less than two weeks since the team implemented changes in the Women’s Health Clinic, they’re already seeing remarkable improvements.  Total door-to-door time (which includes check-in, waiting room, time with provider, lab, and check-out) has decreased by 25% from two hours to one hour and thirty minutes.  Additionally, with the relocation of the Women’s Health check-in area and reconfiguration of rooms and equipment, the distance a patient travels during a clinic visit has been reduced by half.  Additional areas of the health department are already being evaluated for future phases of the ACHD QI Project.

“Time is money,” said Kathy Brooks, QI Project Lead.  “This philosophy not only applies to the business world, but affects the patients that we see daily, since thirty minutes can mean the difference in the size of one’s paycheck.  By reducing waste and increasing our efficiency, we’re allowing our patients get the healthcare they need while keeping disruptions to their daily routine at a minimum.”

The NC CPHQ is a partnership between the North Carolina Public Health Foundation (NCPHF) and the North Carolina Division of Public Health (DPH), funded by Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of North Carolina, The Duke Endowment, The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  NC CPHQ collaborates with state and local partners to provide training in QI methods and tools and develops, leads, and supports strategic QI initiatives for the Division of Public Health and local public health agencies in North Carolina.