Improving Neonatal Outcomes

Reducing premature births and infant mortality

What’s the Problem?

Premature birth is a major contributor to infant mortality in the United States. Data cited by the Institute of Medicine’s report Preterm Birth ranks the United States at 29th lowest in infant mortality amongst the world's industrialized nations. However, the approximately 518,000 premature babies who survive their first year will suffer significantly higher rates of respiratory, cardiovascular, neurologic, gastrointestinal, metabolic, visual and hearing disorders than the general population throughout their lives. Preterm Birth estimates, conservatively, that the annual medical and social cost to the United States of premature babies is $26.2 billion a year. 

What NICHQ Is Doing About It

Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network to Reduce Infant Mortality (CoIIN)

Using evidence-based guidelines, innovations in best practices and quality improvement methods, this project seeks to reduce infant mortality by targeting five areas: 1) eliminating early elective deliveries; 2) promoting safe sleep practices for infants; 3) encouraging smoking cessation in parents; 4) helping hospitals adhere to standards of perinatal practice; 5) improving access to care to mothers before and between pregnancies.

To achieve this goal, NICHQ has joined a quality improvement network of nationally recognized experts to offer quality improvement technical assistance to teams in 13 states. This project is in partnership with Abt Associates and funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration in the Department of Health and Human Services.

Learn more about this project.

New York State Obstetrical and Neonatal Quality Collaborative (NYSONQC)

NICHQ has partnered with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the New York State Department of Public Health on an initiative designed to build the infrastructure of state partners to support quality improvement initiatives. This project aims to: 

  1. Improve newborn and maternal outcomes
  2. Reduce health care costs
  3. Establish capability within the state for ongoing quality improvement/transformation in healthcare with Medicaid and the Department of Health in key leadership roles

The states of Ohio, New York, North Carolina, and Arkansas have piloted the evidence-based clinical interventions designed to improve care for high-risk premature infants. 

Learn more about this project.

Strategies and Tools

NICHQ’s strategies include identifying high-leverage changes likely to result in improved outcomes, defined measures that reflect desired changes, facilitation in convening relevant parties at state level, and promoting cross-state sharing to accelerate learning and adoption of best clinical and administrative practices.

The tools NICHQ has developed for this project include a package of proposed changes and recommendations based on available scientific evidence and expert consensus, a Parent Strategy Document that details how physicians can partner with parents in care, and Learning Collaboratives designed to foster the implementation and spread of the proposed changes and recommendations. 

How You Can Get Involved

To ensure that every mother and baby get the highest quality of health care possible, NICHQ partners with parents and family on work specific to this project. We recognize that parents and family members are uniquely qualified to provide insight, knowledge, perspective and support for positive outcomes. With this experience comes a strong passion which can be a driving force for change.

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