Layton Long

Layton Long

Investing in Quality Improvement (QI) is like any other investment; you give up something in the present in the hope or promise of seeing that investment pay dividends down the road.  QI requires a commitment from management to invest significant staff time and resources on the premise that it will result in organizational improvements and better utilization of existing resources.  Without doubt I believe investing in the QI process is one of the best decisions managers and organizations can make.  My first experience with QI was in my former position as the Health Director for Davidson County. The first QI project that we worked on was restructuring our WIC (The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children) office.  The health department was already in the process of moving the WIC office when the opportunity to invest in QI arose. 

WIC staff were trained on QI concepts and they utilized these concepts to design the new physical work space as well as the processes for how services would be delivered to our WIC customers.  The result was a customer-centered WIC area and service delivery model that has received high customer satisfaction ratings and improved staff satisfaction.  The Davidson County WIC Office has been held up as a model in the state and has been visited by WIC staff from several other counties.

QI also allows staff an instrumental role in developing systems that improve their own work environment.  In the first QI project, as well as subsequent ones, I have watched staff members that would not have normally been involved with making such workplace decisions become completely involved and invested in the process.   Through QI activities, all staff members come to realize that their opinions do count and that they can become equal players in the decision process.  Improvements in overall staff satisfaction with the work environment is the usual result.

The bottom line is that QI will make a difference in the workplace and I definitely encourage all managers to make this investment.

Layton Long,
Section Chief of Environmental Health, NC Division of Public Health


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