FS1201:           The Role of Rapid Cycle Improvement in Addressing Recurrent Critical Violations in Restaurants

 

Speaker:          Paul DeSario, MPH

 

The Cuyahoga County Board of Health (CCBH) Food Protection Program received a grant from The Ohio Voluntary Accreditation Team (OVAT) to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the CCBH food inspection program. A weakness identified during this assessment was re-inspection time spent by the staff in restaurants due to reoccurring critical violations. CCBH staff was spending just under 1,800 hours a year conducting re-inspections of food services with reoccurring CDC risk factor critical violations. Though re-inspections are a routine part of the food safety inspection program, this amount of time seemed excessive. CCBH initiated a pilot study and utilized the rapid cycle improvement tool to see how it could reduce the number of re-inspection hours. Attend this session to hear about the successful results and to learn about how a quality improvement strategy such as this can be implemented in your own department.

 

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Through a grant from The Ohio Voluntary Accreditation Team (OVAT) The Food Protection Program staff assessed the strengths and weaknesses of the food inspection program.   A weakness identified during the assessment was re-inspection time spent by the sanitarian in restaurants due to reoccurring critical violations.  CCBH staff was spending just under 1,800 hours conducting re-inspections of food services with re-occurring CDC risk factor critical violations.  Though re-inspections are a routine part of the food safety inspection program, this amount of time seemed excessive.  

 

A continuous quality improvement team was assembled and this issue was discussed with possible solutions to be measured.  A Pareto chart was created to assess which facilities in the CCBH jurisdiction were taking the most time to inspect.  The inspection reports showed that recurring critical risk factor violations were being documented during the re-inspections, but were not improving.  This seemed to be a weakness in the program because there was no written protocol that would assist sanitarians in decreasing recurring violations. 

 

The rapid cycle improvement tool was chosen because we could conduct a pilot study to a limited amount of facilities and track results that can be analyzed within a short period of time. The rapid turnover of interventions and testing would give CCBH results to see what intervention would affect recurrent critical violations in restaurants.