Objectives: Quality improvement is a critical mechanism to manage public health agency performance and to strengthen accountability for public funds. The objective of this study was to evaluate a relatively new quality improvement resource, the Public Health Quality Improvement Exchange (PHQIX), a free online communication platform dedicated to making public health quality improvement information accessible to practitioners.
Methods: We conducted an internet-based survey of registered PHQIX users (n = 536 respondents) in 2013 and key informant interviews with PHQIX frequent users (n = 21) in 2014, in the United States. We assessed use of the PHQIX website, user engagement and satisfaction, communication and knowledge exchange, use of information, and impact on quality improvement capacity and accreditation readiness.
Results: Of 462 respondents, 369 (79.9%) browsed quality improvement initiatives, making it the most commonly used site feature, and respondents described PHQIX as a near-unique source for real-world quality improvement examples. Respondents were satisfied with the quality and breadth of topics and relevance to their settings (average satisfaction scores, 3.9-4.1 [where 5 was the most satisfied]). Of 407 respondents, 237 (58.2%) said that they had put into practice information learned on PHQIX, and 209 of 405 (51.6%) said that PHQIX had helped to improve quality improvement capacity. Fewer than half of respondents used the commenting function, the Community Forum, and the Ask an Expert feature.
Conclusions: Findings suggest that PHQIX, particularly descriptions of the quality improvement initiatives, is a valued resource for public health practitioners. Users reported sharing information with colleagues and applying what they learned to their own work. These findings may relate to other efforts to disseminate quality improvement knowledge.