Continuous Improvement

The New Hanover County Health and Human Services Department is responsible for the administration of the federally funded Crisis Intervention Program (CIP).  This energy assistance program is important to all that receive it, but more so if someone in the home is elderly, disabled, or a young child under 6 years old. These vulnerable populations are especially at risk for life threatening illness or death if their home is too cold in the winter or too hot in the summer. An internal review of the program identified that energy assistance payments were taking more than 21 days to reach the service provider and, in some cases, late payments were causing citizens to experience gaps in much needed services.  A process improvement audit was initiated to ensure New Hanover County residents received the services they needed.  Once the process improvement was implemented the process was streamlined so that we could send emergency payments within 1 hour of customer approval which dramatically improved our customer’s experience.

Development Services New Processing Software

Development Services provides building and permitting services to our community. In February of 2019, we will launch new software aimed at improving the customer experience by reducing the amount of processing time. A rapid process improvement event for new commercial development has taken place and staff are currently being trained on how to implement these practices alongside the new software implementation.

Fire Rescue Rapid Response

NHCFR Pilot District Response AreaIn 2017, New Hanover County Fire Rescue identified challenges with emergency incident travel times in portions of the county. From August through December 2017, the department initiated a rapid response pilot program with a focus on collecting accurate and consistent data to evaluate the effectiveness of the program.

To reduce the amount of time needed for emergency responders to arrive at the scene of incidents, a quick response vehicle was stationed at strategic locations within the identified district from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. The unit did not have a specific home base in the pilot district and responded to all incidents within the designated area while in service.

After 19 weeks of the pilot program, the data proved that placing a Fire Rescue unit in the pilot area saved an average of three minutes of travel time per incident, providing faster services to New Hanover County citizens.

Human Resources Onboarding Process

In March 2017, a focus group including more than 20 county employees from 9 departments worked together to review and improve the onboarding process for new hires. New employees were included in the process to provide feedback about their onboarding experience.  The focus group developed an improved onboarding process which:

  • Created onboarding coordinators to more efficiently manage the overall process and provide a consistent point of contact for new employees.
  • Provides all county staff involved in the onboarding process with complete and necessary information when they need it, increasing efficiency by reducing duplication of efforts.
  • Provides a more consistent, efficient onboarding experience for new employees.
  • Includes a 6-month reunion for new employees to reconnect with their orientation group and provide feedback on their first 6 months working with the county, facilitating the continuous improvement of the onboarding process.