Quality Improvement in Public Health

OPHA is committed to the importance of quality improvement in public health. We seek for Ontario to have a responsive and adaptable system meeting community needs with effective leadership. OPHA in collaboration with the Leading Edge Group offers LEAN sigma training catered specifically for public health professional. We also host informative webinars in efforts to support continuous quality improvement in public health.

What is Quality Improvement?

“Quality improvement (QI) 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.” (R. Bialek, et al., 2009)

Quality improvement is a distinct management process and set of tools and techniques that are coordinated to ensure that departments consistently meet the health needs of their communities. (Riley, et.al, 2010)

Quality improvement is a continuum. The goals of moving along this continuum are to continuously improve the timeliness, effectiveness, and responsiveness of programs, and to optimize internal resources to improve the health of the community. Transformational change is possible in health when small, incremental improvements at the organizational level. (Riley, et.al, 2010)

Examples of Organizations Working to Advance Quality Improvement in Public Health

Public Health Ontario has funded a locally driven collaborative project (LDCP). The goal of this is to bring Ontario’s public health units together to describe what CQI means for them, and how they can move forward together in a clear, consistent way. Find more information here.

In 2013, Middlesex-London Health Unit released a report on continuous quality improvement (CQI) in public health. Identifying the context of CQI, factors which impact adoption and implementation. The report can be found here.

World Health Organization identifies ways quality improvement can help achieve the millennium development goals. Find out how, here.   

In-Person Training

OPHA in collaboration with the Leading Edge Group offers LEAN sigma training catered specifically for public health professional. Our upcoming 2019 sessions are:


  • White Belt  and Yellow Belt: Thursday April 25th  and Friday April 26th 
  • Green belt (3 days): Wednesday May 29, Thursday May 30 and Friday May 31
  • White Belt  and Yellow Belt: Monday Oct 21st and Tuesday Oct 22nd
  • Black Belt: Wednesday Nov 20th, Thursday Nov 21st and Friday Nov 22nd

Registration will open soon. Please contact info@opha.on.ca for any questions.

Tools and Resources

Nation Association for Council and City Health Official has developed several resources which can help Public health Units begin engaging in quality improvement. Resources can be found here.

A presentation on systems thinking and quality improvement in public health is available on LinkedIn. Slides can be found here.

Performance management is another way to implement quality improvement. The Public Health Foundation released an informative tool kit which can be explored by public health organizations. Information on the toolkit can be found here.

The Public Health Foundation has also published a book “Public Health Quality Improvement Encyclopedia”. The complete encyclopedia has up to 75 QI tools and an extensive glossary. The book can be found here.

Another great book on Quality improvement in public health: The Public Health Quality Improvement Handbook Book by Grace L. Duffy, John W Moran, and Ronald G. Bialek

Riley, W. J., Moran, J. W., Corso, L. C., Beitsch, L. M., Bialek, R., & Cofsky, A. (2010). Defining Quality Improvement in Public HealthJournal of Public Health Management and Practice,16(1), 5-7. doi:10.1097/phh.0b013e3181bedb49

The Institute of Healthcare improvement offers numerous online courses, workshops, networks and tools for quality improvement within local organizations. More information can be found here.

Do you have resources that you wish to share with us? Send them along to admin@opha.on.ca!

Upcoming Events

There are no upcoming events at this time.