-Insights from an accredited health department – Knox County Health Department, TN
After an annual evaluation of quality improvement (QI) efforts, the Knox County Health Department (KCHD) recognized the need to expand documentation of QI projects beyond QI storyboards. When surveying staff, many expressed feeling overwhelmed by the storyboard documentation process which required visual methods using a combination of narrative and images for displaying a QI Project Team’s work. Staff members requested a less formal and user-friendly process to document QI efforts. Our current QI plan requires that each program manager document at least one QI project on a storyboard and submit with their annual performance evaluations. The QI Committee wanted to take this one step further to ensure all staff felt empowered to initiate and document quality improvement. To accomplish this culture shift, the QI Committee worked with IT to develop a page on SharePoint dedicated to documenting and capturing more informal QI efforts. The new documentation process was not meant to replace the QI storyboard but provide a less time-consuming process to capture rapid process changes that occur in everyday work. The documentation platform is simple to use and based on the Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA) cycle. This simplified version, “QI Lite” is a great way for staff members who are not as computer savvy to feel less intimidated when documenting QI efforts.
Additionally, with the implementation of “QI Lite” KCHD has created a learning community for all KCHD staff. SharePoint provides a user-friendly way for staff to share QI projects and learn about QI efforts taking place across the organization. The new “QI Lite” platform provides consistent, accessible results to implement a formal, agency-wide QI effort, moving the organization’s QI culture closer to Phase 5: formal agency-wide QI.
Another goal of the platform is to increase QI initiation, participation, and project documentation beyond management staff. KCHD continuously evaluates data from “QI Lite” to adjust the QI Plan and improve efforts dedicated to increase QI participation across the agency.
In 2019 there were 17 “QI Lite” entries made into SharePoint. Of those seventeen projects, six were initiated and completed by non-management staff. which was a 35% increase in QI project participation and initiation. Use of the “QI Lite” platform significantly decreased in 2020 with the onset of the pandemic due to competing staff demands. Future plans include continuing use of the “QI Lite” platform to increase non-management staff initiation and documentation of quality improvement.
– Jennifer Valentine, MSN, RN, Director of Organizational Planning and Development