Resources for Public Health Quality Improvement

​The alphabetical list of resources below is intended to help public health leaders and practitioners apply quality improvement to programs and processes, with the ultimate goal of saving lives, cutting costs, and getting better results.

PublicHealthFoundationLogo.jpgThe resources and resource repositories listed here cover various topics — national frameworks and initiatives supporting public health quality improvement, performance management and quality improvement resources, public health workforce resources, and community data resources — and were selected by the Public Health Foundation (PHF), a national, non-profit, non-membership organization serving public health agencies and systems for more than 40 years.


National Frameworks and Initiatives Supporting Public Health Quality Improvement

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Winnable Battles: CDC's Winnable Battles are public health priorities with large-scale impact on health and with known, effective strategies to address them.

Healthy People 2020: Healthy People provides science-based, 10-year national objectives for improving the health of all Americans. For 3 decades, Healthy People has established benchmarks and monitored progress over time in order to encourage collaborations across communities and sectors, empower individuals toward making informed health decisions, and measure the impact of prevention activities.

Maximizing the Community Health Impact for Community Needs Assessment Conducted by Tax-exempt Hospitals: Community health needs assessments and implementation strategies are newly required of tax-exempt hospitals as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. These assessments and strategies create an important opportunity to improve the health of communities. This March 2012 consensus statement was submitted to the IRS by the American Public Health Association, Associations of Schools of Public Health, and other organizations.

Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships (MAPP): Facilitated by public health leaders, this community-driven strategic planning process for improving community health helps communities apply strategic thinking to prioritize public health issues and identify resources to address them.

Multi-State Learning Collaborative (MLC): The MLC, which ended in April 2011, brought state and local health departments together with other stakeholders — including public health institutes, health care providers, and universities — to improve public health services by implementing quality improvement practices.

National Prevention Strategy: The National Prevention Strategy, released in June 2011, is a comprehensive plan to help increase the number of Americans who are healthy at every stage of life.

National Public Health Improvement Initiative (NPHII): This CDC initiative supports state, tribal, local, and territorial health departments through the Prevention and Public Health Fund of the Affordable Care Act to make fundamental changes and enhancements in their organizations and implement practices that improve the delivery and impact of public health services.

National Public Health Performance Standards Program (NPHPSP): The NPHPSP seeks to improve the quality of public health practice and the performance of public health systems by providing performance standards; leveraging national, state, and local partnerships to build a stronger foundation for public health preparedness; promoting continuous QI of public health systems; and strengthening the science base for public health practice improvement.

National Strategy for Quality Improvement in Health Care: The Affordable Care Act seeks to increase access to high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans. To that end, the law requires the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to establish a National Strategy for Quality Improvement in Health Care (the National Quality Strategy) that sets priorities to guide this effort and includes a strategic plan for how to achieve it. First released in March 2011, this report describes the initial Strategy and plan for implementation.

Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB): The PHAB is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving and protecting the health of the public by advancing the quality and performance of tribal, state, local, and territorial public health departments.

Strengthening the Community of Practice for Public Health Improvement (COPPHI): This two-year, $1.75 million project facilitates the exchange of best practices and builds capacity among the nation’s public health departments to become accredited and conduct QI.

Ten Essential Public Health Services: The Essential Services provide a working definition of public health and a guiding framework for the responsibilities of local public health systems.

Public Health Performance Management and Quality Improvement Resources

Embracing Quality in Public Health: A Practitioner’s Quality Improvement Guidebook: The QI model, strategies, methods, and tools contained in the guidebook are the basis of myriad approaches available in the marketplace today. This guidebook was designed with and for local public health practitioners in Michigan, but its content and structure are flexible enough for use by other states.

Journal of Public Health Management and Practice: Special QI Edition: The journal's special QI edition (January/February 2010) focuses on the current and future states of QI in public health. The authors provide information on issues that affect QI in public health and processes that can serve to implement effective change.

Local Public Health Quality Improvement Toolkit: This National Association of County & City Health Officials toolkit enables local health departments (LHDs) to search for QI resources that can be adapted by LHDs as they learn about and apply QI processes.

Performance Improvement Managers (PIM) Network: The primary aim of the PIM Network is to foster collaboration, facilitate mutual support, and to articulate and enhance QI and performance management practices within state, tribal, local, and territorial agencies. The Network helps PIMs connect with CDC and partner resources, training, and sharing of best practices and information on topics of collective interest.

Public Health Foundation (PHF) Public Health Quality Improvement Encyclopedia: This comprehensive encyclopedia of 75 QI tools and glossary includes the purpose of each tool, guidance on when and how to use each tool, an explanation for what should be done next after implementation of each tool, and examples specific to public health settings.

PHF QI Resources and Tools: This clearinghouse offers a variety of tools, case studies, papers, articles, books, and storyboards that aim to strengthen the quality and performance of public health practice.

PHF Public Health Improvement Resource Center: More than 500 accessible resources support the initiation and continuation of QI efforts and promote performance management and QI, community health information and data systems, accreditation preparation, and workforce development.

Public Health Performance Improvement Toolkit: The toolkit includes archived trainings, sample QI products, templates, and related resources — all developed by public health peers through their own efforts to implement performance improvement activities and prepare for national voluntary accreditation. The toolkit is continuously updated with new additions from the work of National Network of Public Health Institutes programs, members, and national partner organizations.

The Public Health Quality Improvement Handbook: This book, a collaboration between PHF and the American Society for Quality, is an anthology of chapters written by subject matter experts in public health who are successfully meeting client needs, working together to maximize outcomes, and expanding their collaboration with community partners to encourage better health within neighborhoods, counties, and states.

Turning Point Performance Management Resources: The Turning Point Performance Management National Excellence Collaborative (PMC) was a group of seven states and five national partner organizations that studied and promoted the use of performance management systems in public health. From 2000 to 2005, PHF collaborated with the PMC to study how organizations manage performance and to develop a series of publications to help public health organizations better understand and apply these techniques.


Public Health Workforce Resources

CDC Office for State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Support Gateway: Connecting the public health workforce to information, tools, and resources.

Core Competencies for Public Health Professionals: The Core Competencies are a set of skills desirable for the broad practice of public health, reflecting the characteristics that staff of public health organizations may want to possess as they work to protect and promote health in the community (i.e., deliver the Essential Public Health Services).

Council on Linkages Between Academia and Public Health Practice: This coalition of representatives from 19 national public health organizations has been fostering academic/practice collaboration to ensure a well-trained, competent workforce and strong, evidence-based health infrastructure since 1992. The Council is renowned for developing Core Competencies for Public Health Professionals that are being used by hundreds of health departments across the US today.

New Public Health Blog: This blog is designed to spark an ongoing conversation about public health challenges, opportunities, evidence, solutions and innovations.

Partners in Information Access for the Public Health Workforce (PHPartners): The website, a collaboration of US government agencies, public health organizations and health sciences libraries, provides timely, convenient access to selected public health resources available online.

phConnect: This online collaboration tool was built to support geographically dispersed public health professionals, providing them with an environment for collaborative work, professional networking, and moving public health forward.

PHF Learning Resource Center: Public health, health care, and allied health professionals will find training materials in a variety of formats (print-based, computer-based, video courses, resource manuals, physician guides, patient brochures) on topics such as preparedness, immunization, epidemiology, diabetes, infectious diseases, performance management, asthma and allergies, and health disparities.

TRAIN: A robust clearinghouse of on-site training and distance learning opportunities available in local, state, and national jurisdictions. TRAIN houses information on over 25,000 public health courses offered by more than 4,000 providers. 


Community Data Resources

Community Health Status Indicators (CHSI): The goal of CHSI is to provide an overview of key health indicators for local communities and to encourage dialogue about actions that can be taken to improve a community’s health. The CHSI report, which contains over 200 measures for each of the 3,141 US counties, was designed for both public health professionals and members of the community interested in the health of their community.

County Health Rankings: The Rankings assess the overall health of nearly every county in all 50 states, using a standard way to measure how healthy people are and how long they live based on factors that affect people’s health within four categories: health behavior, clinical care, social and economic factors, and physical environment.

The Guide to Community Preventive Services (Community Guide): A free resource and the best place to find evidence-based recommendations and findings from the Task Force on Community Preventive Services.


Additional Resources for Public Health Professionals

Get Smart for Healthcare: The goal of this CDC campaign is to optimize the use of antimicrobial agents in inpatient health care settings by focusing on strategies to help hospitals and other inpatient facilities implement interventions to improve antibiotic use.

Institute for Healthcare Improvement: Numerous free tools and resources on quality improvement in health care.

  • The How to Improve section describes the fundamentals of improvement: the Model for Improvement, forming the improvement team, setting aims, establishing measures, selecting and testing changes, and spreading changes
  • Free virtual programs including WIHI and On Demand videos on the Model for Improvement, data collection and variation, and more
  • IHI Open School for Health Professions online courses on quality improvement, patient safety, and other topics — available free to health professions students and faculty and for a small fee to others
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