Assisting a Local Health Department through Qualitative Analysis

Client Milton Health Department

Practice Area Evaluation and Quality Improvement

The Story of Milton Health Department

The Milton Health Department is a cornerstone in promoting and safeguarding the well-being of Milton (MA) residents. Their responsibilities include but are not limited to ensuring food safety through inspections, disease surveillance control, contact tracing, monitoring environmental and housing codes, enforcing tobacco regulations, emergency preparedness planning, and other public health programs. The department also collaborates with community-based programs, offering social services, immunizations, substance misuse prevention programs, and educational initiatives for the community.

In response to evolving public health needs, and to ensure effective health promotion, disease prevention, and community well-being, the Milton Health Department has been implementing the Ten Essential Public Health Services using the Public Health Accreditation Board’s (PHAB) framework. As part of this effort to provide exemplary public health services, the Milton Health Department also conducted a Community Health Assessment (CHA) to learn more about the community for evidence-based planning, reflecting a proactive approach to addressing the town’s health needs.

The Challenge of Qualitative Analysis

During the Community Health Assessment, the Milton Health Department needed additional support reviewing qualitative data. Qualitative methods, particularly key informant interviews, are vital for understanding community perspectives. To ensure a thorough assessment, the Milton Health Department contracted with BME Strategies to review, analyze, and report on the findings from the qualitative data.

How BME Strategies Responded

BME Strategies conducted a comprehensive qualitative review of key informant interviews and focus groups, using specialized qualitative software (Dedoose) to extract key themes and insights. BME Strategies systematically analyzed these qualitative datasets through thematic analysis, identifying recurrent themes, patterns, and underlying narratives and aligning with accreditation objectives. Additionally, BME Strategies collaborated closely with the project manager at the Milton Health Department, leveraging their community-specific insights to enrich the overarching conclusions drawn from the qualitative analysis.

The Results

By working with BME Strategies, the Milton Health Department was able to transform data points into insightful narrative to gain a better understanding of the community’s needs and collect feedback. Examples of BME Strategies’ contribution to the Milton Community Health Assessment are below:

  • Successful completion of the Qualitative Analysis portion of the Community Health Assessment
  • Incorporation of Community Perspectives to enrich the project with diverse insights
  • Developed analysis reports
  • Developed qualitative data visualizations

Overall Impact Statement

BME Strategies supported the Milton Health Department to organize and analyze qualitative data to deepen their understanding of the community and to finalize the qualitative data analysis section of the Community Health Assessment.