Online Environmental Health Concern Submission Site

Summary

Impact Statement: 
Deschutes County Health Services (DCHS) in Central Oregon is now able to provide more efficient preventive strategies for the county through creating and implementing an online process for reporting foodborne illness, restaurant complaints, hotel and motel complaints, pool and spa complaints, and other related health issues. This QI initiative not only made it easier for the public to report timely concerns, but it also enabled DCHS staff to better evaluate and assess the data they received and improve the reporting mechanism for evaluation and assessment.
Summary: 

In June 2015, DCHS launched an online submission site for environmental health (EH) concerns in order to increase the ways through which the public can submit these concerns to the health department and to help health department staff respond to concerns in priority order. The site launch was followed by an information dissemination effort to inform the public about the site. By January 1, 2016, 10% of all EH concerns submitted to the health department will be through this site.

Organization that conducted the QI initiative: 
DCHS
Citation: 

Lindsay, C. Public Health Quality Improvement Exchange. Online Environmental Health Concern Submission Site. Wed, 03/09/2016 - 11:19. Available at https://www.phqix.org/content/online-environmental-health-concern-submission-site. Accessed August 19, 2018.

Submission Status: 
Completed
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Comments

Submitted by tkane on

Excellent story. Thank you for writing this up as a PHQIX submission.

I recently attended the Kansas Association of Local Health Departments Mid-Year conference. The conference concluded with a full-day workshop focused on ingegrating Environmental Health into CHA/CHIP processes. The issue of "responding to calls about environmental health concerns from the public" came up frequently.

Most of the LHD practitioners responding to these calls are health directors from small towns, and they wear many hats in their agency and community. An online system for the public to submit non-emergency environmental concerns could be very helpful for them. I look forward to sharing your idea with LHDs in Kansas. 

Ty Kane

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Submitted by Riverstonemarilyn on

I am intrigued by your initiative.  We do not have an online submission process form Environmental Health complaints, thought our State Health Dept does.  I am curious if there is a difference in the types and validity of the complaints submitted online vs by phone or in person.  Did you look at that?

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Marilyn Tapia

Submitted by Channa Lindsay on

Thanks for your question!


We run quarterly reports on the type of calls received and the reports submitted online.  Although multiple types of entries can be made on the online site, we predominately receive entries about restaurant complaints and foodborne illness. That said, we have received other concerns from the public on the online site including questions about diseases, pool/spa complaints, bed bugs, and water problems.


The calls we receive are far more diverse, with topics ranging from allergens, to neighborhood pet, and people asking for directions. Most of the calls made to the health department fall under the other/ miscellaneous category. We also receive many restaurant complaints; however, it is the third largest category as opposed to the largest.


Does this help? Please let me know if you would like additional clarification!

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Channa Lindsay