Using Improvement Science to Address Cross-Program Communication


Impact Statement: 
Through a series of PDSA cycles, a division of the Boston Public Health Commission increased staff knowledge of ongoing program updates from 69% to 86% (a 25% increase).

The Boston Public Health Commission consists of six disease-specific bureaus supported by several administrative offices. The program performing this QI initiative offers specific youth development and health services programming over the non-academic summer months. Leading into the 2016 summer session, several staff members were concerned by the communication challenges that exist across these six programs during the busiest months. Although leaders from each program would meet monthly to share cross-program updates and issues, the leaders did not communicate this information across the programs consistently, which affected staff and programs.  

A four-person team of directors and program staff participated in a 2-day basic QI training to learn and apply QI tools to address this problem. The team then engaged in a series of PDSA cycles to test solutions. The effectiveness of the solutions was measured by staff satisfaction with communication flow. The team also measured staff knowledge of the communicated points and the source of the information to monitor effectiveness of solutions to improve communication from leadership.

Over 6 months, the team’s satisfaction remained approximately the same (on a scale of 1–5); however, the percentage of staff members who knew communicated points compared with the baseline increased by 25%.


Henry, A. Public Health Quality Improvement Exchange. Using Improvement Science to Address Cross-Program Communication. Wed, 11/15/2017 - 15:23. Available at Accessed July 25, 2024.

Submission Status: 
0 users have voted.


Submitted by rlschoeff on

I work in the Needham Public Health Division (MA) and I'm interested in learning about the 2-day basic QI training.  Can you share that information, please?

0 users have voted.

Submitted by Ann Henry on


Thank you for inquiring on our QI training! It is designed to be a working training, where teams attend and work on their improvement project as we facilitate the Ten Step Model for Improvement. Day 1 is comprised of two modules: Understanding the value of QI, and an introduction to the Ten Step Model for Improvement through an adapted version of the Mr. Potato Head activity, defining the aim and customer, mapping the current process, and identifying measures. Day 2 continues on the Ten Step Model by coaching teams to identifying contributing factors, brainstorming and prioritizing potential change ideas.

I’d be happy to share our agenda with you. It would also be great to connect with our public health neighbors in Needham! Please feel free to email me at so we may connect further.

0 users have voted.

Ann Henry, MPH
Accreditation and Quality Improvement Coordinator
Boston Public Health Commission
1010 Massachusetts Ave, 6th Floor | Boston, MA 02118
P: (617) 534-2824 | E: