Wednesday, March 19, 2008 - 2:35 PM

Strategies for Implementing a Public Health Project in a Variety of Healthcare Settings

Cynthia L. Kenyon, Vaccine Preventable Disease Unit, Minnesota Department of Health, P.O. Box 64975, St. Paul, MN, USA

Learning Objectives for this Presentation:
By the end of the presentation participants will be able to:
1. Describe challenges in implementing a public health project in a variety of healthcare settings.
2. Determine strategies for identifying needs of project participants.
3. Recognize opportunities for broader application of project successes and lessons learned.

Minnesota is participating in a pertussis active surveillance project in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The objective of active surveillance is to increase recognition and testing of suspect pertussis cases to better measure the burden and understand the epidemiology of pertussis disease. Participating healthcare providers are expected to identify patients who meet a broad clinical case definition for pertussis, perform diagnostic testing and provide appropriate treatment.

Two counties in Minnesota that together comprise racially and socio-economically diverse urban, suburban, and rural residential areas.

Healthcare providers at clinics, hospitals, schools, and college health services throughout the selected two counties.

Project Description:
Successful implementation of pertussis active surveillance required developing and maintaining healthcare provider awareness of pertussis epidemiology and clinical issues. Project staff identified champions at each potential participating site to promote the project and help resolve implementation challenges. Project design was flexible to accommodate various internal protocols and systems. Educational materials developed addressed knowledge gaps and needs identified by participating sites. Materials included: quick-references for healthcare providers summarizing project protocols and pertussis testing and treatment recommendations; videotapes/DVDs demonstrating specimen collection procedures; and fact sheets and posters for patients/parents, translated into several languages. Materials were subsequently disseminated to healthcare providers statewide.

Results/Lessons Learned:
Recruiting a champion (e.g., physician, nurse, lab technicians or clinic manager) at each healthcare setting was instrumental. Public health's ability to collaboratively respond to specific needs of each participating healthcare setting greatly enhanced enrollment and ongoing participation in the project.