The Environmental Health Division of the Henry County Health Department is planning to implement a secure, web-based Environmental Health Food Safety Inspection system that will allow inspectors to easily document, electronically digitalize, and upload the entire inspection including comments, full attachments such as digital photos into the system in real time. It will allow proper tracking of the uploaded data, and creating reports for analysis to be utilized for making decisions and public health interventions. Finally, in addition to being environmentally friendly, it will enable public access to view food inspections reports in a timely manner. The objectives are to (1) allow us to move away from information being stored and filed in cabinets or in separate data bases and spread sheets where it is time consuming to assimilate and analyze, (2) improve communication between environmental inspectors and clinical services (communicable disease program) during food borne illness investigation or complaints, (3) better manage and follow through with complaints/request for service, (4) track and report cash/accounting, billing/annual renewals, (5) provide timely statistical reports, (6) save our staff time, (7) invariably improve staff production, and (8) reduce use of paper and move towards an eco-friendly environment. Our principal approach is to purchase a proven existing system where the software and the support services has already being tested and used by other local health departments to meet local health protection requirements and is also compliant with the food service sanitation code. In addition, it should be able to provide high levels of service and safety at a low cost. This in turn will provide efficiencies that will allow the agency to cut unnecessary overhead and other expenditures to sustain this system. Since 36% of the Henry County population falls within the "Highly Susceptible Population" as defined in the FDA code and the Illinois Food code, it is significant that we are pro-active in our food program to include risk based inspections (which we have already implemented) and timely enforcement procedures for violations that result in unacceptable risk to the public. This electronic data system will also give us the opportunity to work closely with the various food service managers in implementing effective corrective standard operating procedures that best fits their food service operations. Overall this project will be beneficial not only to provide the ten essential environmental public health services such as monitoring and diagnosing the problems of a food service operation, it will also allow us to evaluate the effectiveness of our program, together with fulfilling our mission which is to "Protect and improve the health of the community".

Public Health Relevance

Henry County Health Department (HCHD) is a county-based public health department established in 1966 in Illinois where 36 % of the population is Highly Susceptible Population as defined in FDA code. To effectively and efficiently fulfill our mission which is To protect and improve the health of the community, we will be implementing an electronic web based Environmental Food Safety Risk Based Inspection System. This system will allow us to be proactive and prevent and/or reduce the risks of food borne illnesses in our community in a timely manner.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Type
Research Demonstration--Cooperative Agreements (U18)
Project #
5U18FD004739-03
Application #
8699660
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZFD1)
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
3
Fiscal Year
2014
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Name
Henry County Health Department
Department
Type
DUNS #
City
Kewanee
State
IL
Country
United States
Zip Code
61443