Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) is a structured process used to identify and prioritize risks by ranking them based on severity, occurrence, and detectability. Historically, FMEA has been used within industries, including automotive and health care. This project explored the adaption of the FMEA template to a small public health program designed to improve asthma outcomes. The Breathe Easy at Home (BEAH) program is a multi-sector partnership that uses a web-based system to link clinical sites with housing code inspections and enforcement for patients with asthma.
In July and August 2014, an FMEA was conducted to uncover risks within the BEAH process, and failures were prioritized for corrective action. The FMEA team prioritized risk based on severity, occurrence, and detectability to apply the FMEA process to a public health program. The FMEA team developed an action plan to improve failure modes that received the highest rankings. To fit the needs of a relatively small public health program, Joint Health Commission and U.S. Veterans Administration rating scales were adapted. The FMEA process can be adapted to a public health systems evaluation framework in order to prioritize areas for improvement.
Murphy JS, Reid M, Ali A, Harrington L, Sandel M. Applying failure mode and effect analysis to public health: the Boston Breathe Easy at Home program. Front Public Health Serv Sys Res 2015; 4(4):29–35. DOI: 10.13023/FPHSSR.0404.05.