Health Department's Quality Improvement Team (L to R) Shontae Fluelen-Hays, Leila Thampy, Carl Filler and Rhonda Bartow
Getting Off to a Quality Start
Quality Improvement (QI) is a big deal at the City of St. Louis Department of Health. As a part of its effort to obtain a national accreditation from the Public Health Accreditation Board, the Department of Health is focused on using principles of quality improvement to enhance its operations. Rhonda Bartow is tasked with leading the effort to improve quality and facilitate this new level of accreditation. This article is the first in a series that will highlight the Department of Health's efforts to fulfill its mission in a quality manner.
One of the key reasons to have a quality operation is to provide the best service possible to the residents of St. Louis City. Understanding that they are the reason the department exists, we strive to provide the services that result in improvements in their lives. That effort was recently recognized at a national level. Epidemiologist Leila Thampy was invited to lead a table-top discussion on stakeholder analysis and recognizing the value of our customers at the recent Open Forum for Quality Improvement in Public Health Conference in Kansas City, MO. Thampy, along with Shontae Fluelen-Hays, is one of the staff members tasked with providing department personnel with their baseline training courses on quality improvement.
That same conference provided an opportunity to highlight one of our major public health efforts in the community. Executive Assistant Carl Filler had the opportunity to present on the Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP), a comprehensive effort to address the major health concerns that are prevalent in St. Louis City. Health in St. Louis City is complicated because so many "non-health" factors impact health status for our residents. Issues like housing, employment, education and crime impact health along with individual behaviors and environmental concerns. To truly improve health conditions here, a multi-faceted approach is necessary. Filler efficiently facilitated the development and institution of the CHIP in a quality manner by obtaining input and buy-in from stakeholders across the community and incorporating best practices. Although this effort is still in its early stages of implementation, the potential impact is evident already.
In addition to highlighting successes within the City, this conference also provided Department of Health attendees an opportunity to learn the latest on quality improvement and performance management as well as network with other public health professionals who are working towards higher quality in their own operations. What was learned will be translated into QI training and projects that will continue to improve our operations. This will help us to meet our mission more efficiently and effectively as we serve our residents.
Department of Health
City of St. Louis
Department of Health