Quality Improvement Enhances Department-Wide Services at Stark County Health Department
By Kirkland Norris, RS, MPH
Prior to accreditation, members of the Stark County Health Department (SCHD) Management Team were the only individuals who had experience with quality improvement and engaged in the efforts to improve the performance of the department’s services. As the department began to delve deeper into the accreditation process they quickly realized the importance of department-wide quality improvement efforts and organized a Quality Improvement Council (QIC).
The QIC is responsible for providing leadership and guidance for the department’s quality improvement activities. Once organized, the QIC created the SCHD’s Quality Improvement Plan to ensure the principles of improvement were incorporated to create a culture of quality that was consistent throughout the health department. Along with the SCHD’s ongoing dedication to improving the quality of services, the department has successfully integrated a department-wide quality improvement initiative that involves all employees.
Since 2014, SCHD employees have submitted 16 quality improvement project suggestion forms, which resulted in 8 quality improvement projects. Several of the completed quality improvement projects have had a positive impact on the department’s performance. One of the quality improvement projects included a Kaizen Event and improved the department’s employee time tracking process.
Before 2017, the SCHD was using an outdated and time consuming process for tracking employee time that had not been updated in over 20 years. Time sheets were used for program specific time accounting, grant tracking, billing, costs analysis and budgeting purposes. The project began with a 5-day Kaizen Event in which participating staff developed a common process and list of codes that could be uniformly used throughout the department. The Kaizen Event helped the department improve the efficiency of the employee time tracking process and identified the need for a new time tracking system.
Kronos Workforce Ready, a platform that combines workforce management with human capital management capabilities, was selected as a solution to the identified problem. Kronos allows all employees to enter their daily information and time-off requests directly into the system, eliminating the need for clerical support to enter information from a hard copy form. Management is now able to approve timesheets and time-off requests electronically and numerous reports can be generated allowing management access to real time data for better decision making and accountability of time.
As a result of improving the SCHD’s employee time-tracking process, the department reduced the number of departmental codes by 51%, reduced the number of steps associated with the process by 94%, and saved the department nearly $69,000 per year in employee labor and copying costs.
Stark County Health Department in Canton, Ohio, was awarded national accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board on June 6, 2017.
About the author: Kirkland Norris, RS, MPH, is Health Commissioner at Stark County Health Department in Canton, Ohio. Contact him at [email protected]
⇒ Other major benefits gained as a result of going through the accreditation process:
- Enhanced workforce development
- Increased department-wide accountability