Washington-Ozaukee Health Department

This grantee was part of the Center’s Implementation and Impact Measurement Program

The health departments in Washington and Ozaukee Counties in Wisconsin merged in 2016 into one health department that serves 220,000 residents. Their impact measurement plan included measuring changes in productive clinic time and in quality for areas such as access to data, staff support, and customer and staff satisfaction.

Sharing services allowed for staff to specialize in one program area. Staff also found that a higher degree of specialization resulted in a reduction of the time spent on the investigation of each communicable disease case. Sharing services also provided easier access to information from multiple jurisdictions and reduced the time to investigate cases shared between the two counties; in the case of hepatitis C, the reduction was about 50 percent. Waiting time for appointments for immunizations were reduced in Washington County from seven to four days due to shared electronic health records / electronic scheduling that facilitated scheduling appointments. Overall staff satisfaction improved post-merger from 3.6 to 4.0 (out of a possible maximum of 5).

Through the merger, staff were able to examine, optimize and standardize policies and procedures from the two counties. As a result, staff were able to increase referrals of Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) clients for other medical and social services. In Ozaukee County about 77 percent of women received a referral, versus less than 37 percent before the merger. Referral were almost never done in Washington County before the merger; after the merger, almost 15 percent of WIC clients in Washington County received a referral.

Read the final report: Cross-Jurisdictional Sharing Implementation and Impact Measurement Program

For more details about this impact measurement initiative, please email us at phsharing@khi.org.