July 18, 2008 DHS Director's messages on the web
To: All DHS employees
From: Mike Skeels, DHS interim assistant director for PHD
Interim Assistant Director Mike Skeels
Interim Assistant Director
Mike Skeels
This week it's my turn to talk about the DHS Transformation Initiative. I appreciate this opportunity to share some of the ways Transformation will improve Public Health Division services and operations throughout Oregon's statewide public health network.

The purpose of Transformation is to become more efficient and effective, allowing us to liberate resources that we can then redirect toward improving services and achieving better outcomes for the people we serve.

To accomplish this, the Public Health Division plans to begin by making improvements in three key areas:

  • We will streamline our expenditure approval process. The goal here is to simplify basic administrative tasks and eliminate waste and inefficiency. For example, our current approval process for out-of-state travel requires 17 separate steps. Through Transformation we believe we can cut that to eight steps and reduce the processing time from 19 days to five. This simplification will not only reduce employee frustration, it also will save a significant amount of time and money that can be focused on more productive work.
     
  • We will fine-tune our state-county public health partnerships. By enhancing these partnerships we can strengthen the public health system as a whole, give Oregonians more consistent access to public health services throughout the state and improve community health outcomes. We plan to review and update our contracts with the local health departments that deliver public health services to ensure those contracts align with state mandates and are consistent across all Oregon counties. Working closely with the Conference of Local Health Officials, we will improve quality assurance processes, increase accountability, and clarify roles and responsibilities. This collaborative partnership will determine the exact shape and direction of this effort during the coming months.
     
  • We will modernize and expand Internet-based services. This aspect of Transformation will reach to the heart of one of our central missions - collecting and disseminating information - through several initiatives. One initiative will improve Web-enabled data collection and distribution by replacing our current inefficient interface with one that allows dynamic Web content. Partners and the public will be able to use our Web site to get real-time, consistent data, and to customize their requests to get the specific information they need. We also will improve our on-line data system and sharpen our e-business capabilities to make it easier to do business with us. This includes expanding and streamlining our on-line licensing and certification procedures.

We are excited and optimistic about the Transformation process, and about seeing the real benefits Transformation will bring to our employees, our community partners and the public we serve.

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