"We Influence Change": Applying PDSA to Increase the Reach of WIC within the Maricopa County Department of Public Health


Impact Statement: 
A large county health department used effective data gathering, analysis, and interpretation with PDSA to enable increased WIC caseloads that in turn decreased the number of negative health outcomes among low-income mothers and their families who had not been receiving WIC benefits.

This quality improvement (QI) project attempted to improve the reach of the Maricopa County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, which serves the needs of low-income women and their children and strives to reach optimal health outcomes. A core team of WIC staff (including the program manager, regional managers, clinic supervisors, and key staff), with a facilitator, used the Plan, Do, Study, Act (PDSA) framework to identify all the root causes of this problem. Accompanied by other county and state stakeholders, the team worked through the phases of the PDSA system of QI. The process of client participation in the program was mapped based on both staff and client activity. Problematic junctures were tracked and prioritized for impact. Solutions were generated and ranked. When large amounts of client intake data were thought to be useful in this process, project funds allowed staff in the Office of Epidemiology to analyze these data, resulting in the team easily identifying needed solutions. Further data were collected through clinic supervisor interviews and outreach calls to program clients. The team decided by consensus that increasing the number of new clients was the most significant target, and the approach would be to change clinic operations to allow for the majority of walk-in clients and to modify staffing patterns to meet this essential demand. The result is that the June 2013 caseload (68,711) is at its highest level since November 2012, and the July 2013 caseload should be even higher (estimated at 69,500). Program client numbers are expected to hit 70,000 in August 2013 and the QI target of 72,500 by the end of the fiscal year, June 2014.

Organization that conducted the QI initiative: 

Eisen-Cohen, E. Public Health Quality Improvement Exchange. "We Influence Change": Applying PDSA to Increase the Reach of WIC within the Maricopa County Department of Public Health. Wed, 03/08/2017 - 15:04. Available at https://www.phqix.org/content/we-influence-change-applying-pdsa-increase-reach-wic-within-maricopa-county-department. Accessed May 27, 2018.

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