CASE 11: Evaluating a Public Health Program for Continuous Quality Improvement: Options and Methods in a Time of Pandemic
In 2018, a review of the public health inspection program by the Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) identified a gap in how its Environmental Health and Infectious Disease division evaluated mandatory public health services. To meet the requirements of the Ontario Public Health Standards, the MLHU must implement important recommendations from the review to ensure the most effective and efficient service model is delivered. One recommendation under consideration is to initiate activities that will entrench quality assurance and promote continuous quality improvement through monitoring and integration of findings from client experience into MLHU’s mandatory public health services. Rex Paul, the Manager of the Food Safety and Healthy Environment team at the MLHU, wants to initiate an evaluation framework for mandatory public health inspection programs. He is interested in exploring best practices and/or approaches for evaluating experiences of public pool and spa operators. This will serve as a pilot to assess client experiences with other mandatory public health services. Additionally, Rex wants to know the best data collection methods for the assessment of mandatory public health services in the context of COVID-19 pandemic. This will take a different approach as it is focused on improving the performance of staff who conduct regulatory work that enforces rules as opposed to previous client experience surveys where clients seek services from Public Health (vaccines, sexual health checks, smoking cessation, etc.).
This case outlines the procedures and approaches for the evaluation of a public health program. It discusses relevant tools including logic models useful for clarifying the purpose of evaluation, mapping out an evaluation plan, identifying data collection tools, and collecting important information to address evaluation needs. The case also describes the importance of organizational standards and stakeholder consultations towards effective data collection and analysis for overall improvement in the program outcome.
This process will help Paul’s team understand best approaches for collecting client feedback and incorporating findings to improve delivery of mandatory public health services. It will eventually provide baseline information for the planned monitoring of all regulated clients’ experiences of the MLHU’s mandatory programs.
1. Discuss the importance and consequences of logic models in the evaluation of public health programs.
2. Explain the purpose of an evaluation plan and discuss its components.
3. Identify the barriers and facilitators for successful evaluation of mandatory public health programs, especially those faced during a pandemic.
4. Discuss the likelihood of long-term adaptation beyond the crisis mode of the present project and the possibilities for later use in non-crisis evaluations.
5. Highlight the benefits of conducting research, such as client experience surveys, during a pandemic.
6. Discuss the approaches for successful data collection during public health emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Case Study Questions
1. Why do you think it is important to evaluate public health programs and why evaluate the program in today's case?
2. Who should be involved in evaluation processes, both in general and in this case?
3. What is the purpose of an evaluation plan when planning to evaluate a program?
4. What is the importance of logic models in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of public health programs?
5. What are the components of a logic model? List the components in this case.
6. Distinguish between mandatory and non-mandatory public health services.
1. What are the key stages and the appropriate evaluation questions for designing an evaluation plan? What stages and evaluation questions/methods would be appropriate for the case?
2.What are the different ways of designing a logic model and how would you develop a logic model for evaluating the program?
3. What are the different data collection methods for evaluating public health programs?
4. What data collection method(s) do you think are suitable for this case?
5. In what ways can measuring the performance of a regulatory organization through client experience surveys contribute to continuous quality improvement of a mandatory public health program?
6. What are the issues to consider when designing a client experience survey of a public health program?
7. What are the benefits of conducting research, such as client experience surveys, during a pandemic?
8. What approaches would you suggest for successful data collection during public health emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic?
Client experience, COVID-19, logic model, mandatory services, pandemic, pool safety, program evaluation, Public Health, public health inspection, quality assurance, regulation, service delivery, surveys
Oyelade, A., Pavletic, D., McKinley, G. (2022). Evaluating a Public Health Program for Continuous Quality Improvement: Options and Methods in a Time of Pandemic. in: Darnell, R. & Sibbald, S. L. [eds] Western Public Health Casebook 2021. London, ON: Public Health Casebook Publishing.