State Landscape in Public Health Planning and Quality Improvement

Limited data exist on state public health agencies and their use of planning and quality improvement (QI) initiatives. Using the 2007 Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) State Public Health Survey, this article describes how state public health agencies perform tasks related to planning, performance management (PM) and QI.

While 82 percent of respondents report having a QI process in place, only 9.8 percent have it fully implemented department wide. Seventy-six percent reported having a PM process in place, with 16 percent (n = 8) having it fully implemented department wide. A state health improvement plan was used by 80.4 percent of respondents, with 56.9 percent of respondents completing the plan more than three years ago. More than two-thirds (68.2%) of the respondents developed the plan by using results of their state health assessment. Analysis of state health department level planning, PM and QI initiatives can inform states' efforts to ready themselves to meet the proposed national voluntary accreditation standards of the Public Health Accreditation Board.