Quality Improvement and Communicable Disease Reporting


Impact Statement: 
Because surveillance for communicable disease had been provided by the state, the Red Cliff Community health department had limited knowledge of communicable diseases in their community. They used quality improvement to bring communicable disease reporting, surveillance, control and prevention back to the health department. Partnering with other PH departments provided t lessons and best practices. Current and new process maps were created, followed by the identification of gaps and improvement solutions (5 Whys and Radar Charts were used). An action plan and bi-weekly team time was used to monitor implementation of the solutions, learnings, and modifications. Project outcomes included reporting and completing follow-up for 100% of communicable diseases and team member knowledge testing improved from an average score of 84% to 96%. The benefits extended beyond communicable disease – it increased collaboration and partnerships with Ashland and Bayfield Counties.

The Red Cliff reservation is approximately 1 mile wide and 14 miles long and is located at the top of the Bayfield Peninsula, on the shores of Lake Superior in northern Wisconsin. The reservation population is 924, primarily Native American. Red Cliff Community Health Center includes family practice, community health, dental, laboratory, pharmacy, and alcohol and other drug abuse services. Red Cliff Community Health Center started the accreditation process with a grant from Wisconsin’s Public Health Quality Initiative (WIQI). A team was developed to complete the public health self-assessment. From there, the team discovered that communicable disease reporting, along with other areas, was a weakness. The team applied for funding from the National Network of Public Health Institutes (NNPHI) to develop a multidisciplinary, community-based approach to communicable disease reporting and surveillance for the Red Cliff community. First, the team developed an aim statement, which has been revised many times and has been fully accomplished. Five staff members have access and competency in reporting communicable diseases to the Wisconsin Electronic Disease Surveillance System (WEDSS), and the team is in the process of reporting its first case.

Organization that conducted the QI initiative: 
Red Cliff Community Health Center

Elza, J. Public Health Quality Improvement Exchange. Quality Improvement and Communicable Disease Reporting. Mon, 10/05/2015 - 14:03. Available at https://www.phqix.org/content/quality-improvement-and-communicable-disease-reporting. Accessed June 21, 2024.

Submission Status: 
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Submitted by sfenton on

Of the cases you are reporting and doing follow up for, are these cases that are identified in house or reported to you from another source, such as hospital, lab, school?  To whom are you reporting these cases?  Are you doing the disease investigations or passing on to a local or state health authority?  Thanks.

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Submitted by LorrieS on

Under your Measurable QI Outcomes you mention a pre-test and power point presentation on Communicable Disease.  Just wondering if you would be willing to share this information?  We are also new to WEDSS and these training tools would be great for our Community Health Nursing staff.


Lorrie Shepard, Community Health Outreach Director, Forest Co. Potawatomi Community Health Department 

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