Oregon Center for Health Statistics: Vital Records Mail Order Improvement
The aim of this project was to improve the current process used for mail-ordered vital records requests. The process begins when a request for a vital record is received in the mail and ends when the vital record has been sent to the customer. Before the improvement, this process required 45 business days to complete. The need for this improvement was originally identified during a quarterly target review (QTR) when performance data revealed that the current process was unable to meet the program-defined target of processing a mail order request within 3–5 business days of receiving the request. In addition to improving the current process, a secondary goal of this event was to reduce the backlog of requests, which required many hours of staff overtime to work on. The timing of this project was very rapid. The first meeting was with the process owner, and time was spent documenting a list of the steps of the process. The second meeting lasted approximately 2 hours, and participating staff members worked to build the current state process. Once the process was built and several tweaks were made, staff members quickly determined the first area for improvement. Instead of spending time going through the process again and discussing areas of waste, the group wanted to brainstorm steps to improve the current state. Through this brainstorming process, the group realized that designating one staff member to process all mail order requests was not a sustainable and efficient way to work through the process. One participant proposed that additional staff be designated as helpers who could be available to jump in if the demand for records increased quickly. Another proposed change was to enter the data from the vital records request into the program's online portal, called the Oregon Vital Events Registration System (OVERS). By entering this information in the beginning, staff designated to help with the process could quickly see the vital records requests needing to be completed. Benefits from this initiative include a decrease in the processing time of mailed-in vital records requests, from 45 business days to 6 business days. This decrease has also led to a decrease in the amount of overtime needed because of backlogged requests. Nontangible benefits for this initiative include an increased awareness among staff of quality improvement (QI) tools and coaching available as needed.
Gilman, M. Public Health Quality Improvement Exchange. Oregon Center for Health Statistics: Vital Records Mail Order Improvement. Tue, 08/26/2014 - 09:26. Available at https://www.phqix.org/content/oregon-center-health-statistics-vital-records-mail-order-improvement. Accessed December 7, 2023.