Quality improvement (QI) is the use of a deliberate and defined improvement process (such as Lean or Plan-Do-Study-Act) that focuses on activities that are responsive to community and customer needs. It involves continuous and ongoing efforts to achieve measureable improvements in the efficiency, effectiveness, performance, accountability, outcomes and other indicators of quality in our services or processes.
The following are characteristics typically seen when using QI methods to solve problems:
Examination of current performance
Examination of current process (not people)
Information based problem solving
Small scale testing
Measurable, incremental improvement
Public health departments vary in the QI maturity and culture present in their organizations. Because there is a natural evolution of changes that occurs as a health department engages in QI, the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) developed the QI Roadmap to a Culture of Quality Improvement to help departments assess their QI maturity and access tools and resources to evolve their QI culture.
For more information, click on the phase below that best represents where your agency is at in the QI journey: