Four Quick Wins to Save Money, Increase Efficiency, and Improve Public Health


a performance improvement plan and one comprehensive dashboard system from 119 separate databases for the Virginia Department of Health

strategies to save more than $1.2 million annually on information technology costs

efficiency of administrative procurement processes by developing an online system and the agency’s accountability by establishing a Performance Improvement Council

enrollment in Virginia’s Medicaid family planning program by 32 percent through addressing process barriers

Organizational performance improvement requires a strong foundation of leadership, staff, and stakeholder investment, as well as good metrics for measuring success. The Virginia Department of Health put these elements in place to establish a clear understanding of resources and priorities, and to implement key projects that immediately improved efficiency and health service outcomes.

Funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Public Health Improvement Initiative (NPHII) allowed the Virginia Department of Health to hire performance improvement staff, who worked with key leaders across the system to develop performance improvement priorities and specific projects for meeting these priorities. Teams of representatives from all levels of the agency were created and have begun showing measurable success at improving data management, lowering costs of information technology, increasing administrative efficiency around procurement, and boosting enrollment in Plan First, Virginia’s Medicaid family planning program.

What We Did

CDC’s NPHII funding was central to our quick wins at the Virginia Department of Health. In year one, funds were used to

  • Hire a performance improvement manager and analyst
  • Develop a performance improvement plan in partnership with the commissioner, senior deputies, central office directors, and local health directors
  • Implement four projects that targeted areas for improvement identified by staff
  • Create a Performance Improvement Council that includes state political leaders, agency leaders, private sector partners, and a CDC representative to provide oversight and guidance
What We Accomplished

We were able to move forward on several fronts to implement our performance improvement plan. In year one, we were able to

  • Abstract and consolidate critical metrics from 119 public health system databases into one dashboard system serving all offices
  • Identify more than $1.2 million in annual potential savings in information technology costs which, when implemented, will free up funds for programs and staffing
  • Create an online system to replace a time-consuming, redundant, and paper-based administrative procurement process
  • Raise awareness of challenges and barriers to enrollment in Plan First and increase enrollment by 32 percent
What We Learned

Key factors to the success of year-one activities included

  • Having committed and engaged leaders involved in performance improvement initiatives
  • Selecting projects that were high priorities for staff and stakeholders and engaging them in implementing improvements

Publication date: 02/17/2012

More Information
For story information, contact
Virginia Department of Health
Joshua Czarda
Performance Improvement Manager
Telephone: 804-864-7014
For product information, contact
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30333

The information in Public Health Practice Stories from the Field was provided by organizations external to CDC. Provision of this information by CDC is for informational purposes only and does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by the US government or CDC.

Page last reviewed: October 5, 2018