Quality Improvement Plan - Local Public Health Assessment and Planning - Minnesota Dept. of Health
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Quality Improvement Plan

Quality improvement (QI) in public health is the use of a deliberate and defined improvement process like Plan-Do-Study-Act (or PDSA), 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. [1]

A quality improvement plan is a basic guidance document that describes how a health department will manage, deploy, and review quality. It also serves to inform staff and stakeholders of the direction, timeline, activities, and importance of quality and quality improvement. [2]


The quality improvement plan describes what a health department is planning to accomplish, and should be updated regularly to reflect what is currently happening in QI at your health department. The quality improvement plan provides written credibility to the entire Quality Improvement process, and is a visible sign of management support and commitment to quality throughout the health department. [4]

The Public Health Accreditation Board (or PHAB) writes in its standards and measures guide that “to make and sustain quality improvement gains, a sound quality improvement infrastructure is needed. Part of creating this infrastructure involves writing, updating, and implementing a health department quality improvement plan. This plan is guided by the health department’s policies and strategic direction found in its mission and vision statements, in its strategic plan, and in its health improvement plan.” [3]


As part of Minnesota’s Local Public Health Assessment and Planning process, every community health board submitted a complete quality improvement plan to the Public Health Practice Section at MDH in March 2015. Public Health Practice Section staff will review submitted plans against the requirements of PHAB and provide feedback on strengths and areas for improvement.


The quality improvement plan is typically developed and implemented by an internal oversight team of 7-10 members who serve as QI leaders for the organization, often called a Quality Council or QI Advisory Team. There is no specific requirement on who is on this team from the organization, but it often is comprised of both senior leaders and front-line staff. This helps to ensure that the organization has both a top-down and bottom-up approach to QI. Members of this team should be well-versed in QI principles, methods and tools and are expected to serve as QI champions for the organization and will be responsible for the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the QI plan.

MDH Support for Process

Staff from the QI Unit in the Public Health Practice Section at MDH are available to provide consultation and technical assistance for CHBs as they form their QI teams, write and implement their QI plans, initiate QI projects, and monitor and evaluate their QI efforts. Tools, templates, and other supporting materials are available at QI Plan: How to Do It. All guidance has been designed to assist CHBs meet the national public health standards developed by PHAB.


  1. Riley WJ, Moran JW, Corso LC, Beitsch LM, Bialek R, & Cofsky A. (2010). Defining quality improvement in public health. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice 16(1), 5-7. [Return to the text]
  2. Kane T, Moran J, & Armbruster S. (2011). Developing a health department quality improvement plan. Washington, DC: Public Health Foundation. [Return to the text]
  3. Public Health Accreditation Board. (2011). Guide to national public health department accreditation version 1.0. Measure 9.2.1 [Return to the text]
  4. Kane T, Moran J, & Armbruster S. (2011). Developing a health department quality improvement plan. Washington, DC: Public Health Foundation. [Return to the text]