Quality Improvement

“Quality improvement in public health is the use of a deliberate and defined improvement process, such as Plan-Do-Check-Act, which is focused on activities that are responsive to community needs and improving population health. It refers to a continuous and ongoing effort to achieve measurable improvements in the efficiency, effectiveness, performance, accountability, outcomes, and other indicators of quality in services or processes which achieve equity and improve the health of the community.”

-- Accreditation Coalition Workgroup, Public Health Foundation, approved June 2009

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) is on a quality improvement (QI) journey. QI is happening all around IDPH, and the QI culture continues to grow.

QI is one tool that IDPH uses to help improve health outcomes for Iowans by thinking about:

  • What are we trying to accomplish?
  • How will we know that a change is an improvement?
  • What changes can we make that will result in an improvement?

Quality Improvement Plan

In 2016, IDPH formally adopted a QI plan and established a QI council to formalize and standardize QI efforts across the Department.

Quality Improvement Council

The QI Council leads the implementation of the QI plan and guides IDPH on its QI journey. Council members also receive training on QI tools and serve as facilitators of QI efforts at IDPH. The QI Council includes:

  • IDPH Deputy Director (chair)
  • QI coordinator (facilitator)
  • A bureau chief
  • Six staff members from across IDPH

Quality Improvement Culture at IDPH

All IDPH employees are encouraged to incorporate QI in their work and their performance plans. They are also encouraged to submit their QI ideas to the QI council. A variety of QI trainings are offered year-round. The trainings focus on specific QI tools that staff can use in their daily work.

Quality Improvement Tools and Resources


PHQIX is an online community designed to be a communication hub for public health professionals interested in learning and sharing information about QI in public health.

Minnesota Public Health QI Toolbox

The Minnesota Department of Public Health’s toolkit has information on a variety of QI tools and examples of them being used.

Michigan Guidebook: Embracing Quality in Public Health

Michigan’s Guidebook provides public health specific QI resources to help apply QI to public health practice and prepare for accreditation.

NACCHO’s Roadmap to a Culture of Quality Improvement

The National Association of County and City Health Officials’ QI roadmap provides guidance on progressing through six phases of QI maturity to reach a culture of quality.

For more information:

Dex Walker, Quality Improvement Coordinator
Lucas State Office Building
321 E 12th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319-0075
Phone: (515) 242-5224