Founded in 1999, the National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality (NICHQ) is an independent, action-oriented organization dedicated to achieving a world in which all children receive the high quality healthcare they need.
Led by experienced pediatric healthcare professionals, NICHQ’s mission is to improve children’s health by improving the systems responsible for the delivery of children’s healthcare. Specifically, NICHQ:
- builds sustainable system improvement capabilities;
- accelerates adoption of best practices; and
- advocates for high quality children’s healthcare.
NICHQ’s current initiatives focus on ensuring that every child receives care in a high-performing medical home, including:
- the prevention and treatment of childhood obesity;
- improving care systems for children with special healthcare needs; and
- improving perinatal care.
Over the past ten years, through the expertise of clinical and improvement leaders and parents, NICHQ has directly shaped the quality of care for children and youth in the areas of access and efficiency in office practice, asthma, autism, children in foster care, diabetes, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, cystic fibrosis, hearing loss, epilepsy, obesity, oral health, prevention and spina bifida.
NICHQ provides results in children’s care, enabling practitioners, hospitals, public health systems to deliver better health outcomes for children. NICHQ uses a variety of programs and teaching models including collaborative learning, public events, training and technical assistance and has created practical tools, change packages, measures and resources for practitioners and the community.
NICHQ works with providers, funders, payers, policy makers, patients and families to change care. NICHQ offers expert training, consulting support, educational materials and data to entities working toward accelerating improvement in pediatric care, including:
Education and Training
Learning collaboratives bring together a diverse collection of practices jointly focused on improving care and service in a specific disease category, such as asthma or ADHD, or topic, such as advanced access. Participants attend a series of learning sessions led by national experts, and work together over a period of time to test, share and implement improvement strategies. This highly successful teaching model was developed by Institute for Healthcare Improvement as The Breakthrough Series.
Current and past collaboratives focus on topics including childhood obesity, epilepsy, newborn hearing screening, asthma, access and efficiency, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), preventive services, cystic fibrosis and children with special health care needs.
Distance learning uses the content and processes of the learning collaborative model, but without the need for face-to-face meetings. The use of distance learning materials and virtual meeting technology reduces cost and travel barriers for participants and broadens the opportunity for participation.
The Annual Forum for Improving Children’s Healthcare brings together organizations and individuals who care about children’s health, along with the nation’s top quality improvement experts, to learn from one another. At the forum participants share ideas, learn from experienced leaders and practitioners, gain new skills and practical tools, and preview innovative new technology.
Jump-Start: Quality Improvement Fundamentals for Leaders in Children’s Healthcare is a 2.5-day course designed to prepare leaders to guide their organizations in implementing dramatic improvements in care. Grounded in the Model for Improvement and Baldridge quality concepts, this course is unique in its sole focus on care for children. Jump-Start is designed for groups from various organizations or practices and can also be customized to fit the individual needs of one organization
Jump-Ahead: Advanced Improvement Training for Leaders in Children’s Healthcare is a 2.5-day course providing practical hands-on knowledge about leading successful projects and organizational-wide initiatives to improve the quality of care. Jump-Ahead caters to individuals or organizations with basic quality improvement knowledge and focuses on developing change concepts and spreading improvements, and incorporating more scientific rigor, creativity and innovation into programs.
Q-Calls are 60-90 minute informative and interactive sessions led by nationally recognized experts in their field. The purpose of Q-Calls is to disseminate information to the health care community about NICHQ's Bold Agenda for Improving Children's Healthcare set by Dr. Charles Homer at the 5th Annual Forum for Improving Children's Health Care. Through the use of virtual conferencing technology, experts from across the country are able to lead informative sessions demonstrating new and innovative practices. The sessions can be attended by as many people at a site as desired for the same low cost.
Technical Assistance programs are designed for organizations that would like the ability to organize and facilitate their own Learning Collaboratives. NICHQ faculty and staff assist a team with an organizational structure that mirrors the NICHQ staff of a Learning Collaborative in the strategic planning, development and implementation of a collaborative. The team provides training, tools and technical support as well as continuous feedback and coaching designed to help the teams spread improvements to the collaborative participants.
NICHQ partners with private, nonprofit and government entities to offer expertise in the healthcare role of improving the well-being of children.
Regional improvement partnerships: Since establishing the Vermont Child Health Improvement Program when first operating, NICHQ has built local capacity to sustain improvement. NICHQ works with state government, professional societies and other state and regional entities to create and support such local capabilities.
The Childhood Obesity Action Network(COAN) is a new approach to learning and sharing among health care providers at both the local and national levels. The aim of the network is to accelerate the reduction in childhood obesity through the sharing and use of best practices in assessment, prevention and treatment. The COAN uses several vehicles for disseminating these validated best practices including a website, conference calls, an annual conference and policy meeting to identify to communicate policy and practice levers that promote and sustain improvement efforts.
The long term, ultimate goal of this program is a reduction in the prevalence of obesity among children, and the elimination of disparities in obesity between white and minority children.