Cross-Sector Collaboration

Cross-Sector Collaboration

At our core, NICHQ is a convener. We have a long history of bringing together diverse stakeholders across traditional boundaries to achieve shared aims. Based on a philosophy of “All Teach, All Learn,” we believe that improvement is exponentially easier when people and organizations work together.

Expertise in cross-sector collaboration has become particularly important as NICHQ’s work has expanded beyond our initial focus primarily on clinical settings to the broader influences that produce children’s health. As NICHQ has grown, we have widened our lens as we seek to improve health more broadly in topics such as childhood obesity and infant mortality. These are areas that clearly require building bridges between healthcare and other sectors (e.g., public health and community).

Here are some examples of projects where NICHQ has helped disparate stakeholders forge common ground:

  • Collaborate for Healthy Weight – A national initiative in which NICHQ helped communities across the US build multisectoral coalitions to tackle obesity on a local level.
  • Infant Mortality Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network (CoIIN) – A national initiative in which NICHQ is working with federal, state, and local leaders, public and private agencies, professionals and communities to reduce infant mortality and improve birth outcomes.
  • ePlans to Promote Healthy Weight – An effort to determine how best to include healthy weight plans in electronic health records (EHRs) in which NICHQ helped bring together experts in obesity prevention, behavior change, practice redesign and medical informatics.

Our Methods and Approaches

We deploy a variety of methods to bring committed individuals and organizations together to learn and work together. These include:

Breakthrough Series Collaborative

A common approach we use is adapted from the Breakthrough Series (BTS) CollaborativeExternal Link, pioneered by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI). The BTS Collaborative is a learning system that facilitates spread and adaptation of knowledge to multiple settings. The system is grounded in the principles of Improvement Science, enabling teams to test changes, make observations, collect data, share ideas, and implement successful changes broadly. The diagram to the right shows the structure of a typical BTS Collaborative, which we often modify the BTS approach to meet the needs or requirements of specific project’s aims.

Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Networks (CoIINs)

CoIINs are dynamic, technology-enabled, virtual work teams in which people with a shared vision collaborate to achieve a common goal by exchanging ideas, information, and work. Based on the original concept from Peter Gloor, PhD, participants apply innovation, collaborative learning, and quality improvement methodologies to develop, test, implement, and spread novel approaches to solve seemingly intractable problems.





This diagram shows the structure of a typical Breakthrough Series (BTS) Collaborative.

This diagram shows the structure of a typical BTS Collaborative.