How Kansas is Leveraging the Infant Mortality CoIIN to Accelerate Improvement

Posted February 11, 2016 by Cindy Hutter

The IM CoIIN Collaboratory
NICHQ's online collaboration tool, known as the NICHQ Collaboratory, allows states to learn from and forge new relationships with other states working on shared goals.

Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Networks (CoIINs) offer many tools and resources for their participants. From driver diagrams to measurement strategies to change packages and collaboration tools, the underlying supports for accelerating change are all there. A participant just needs to reach out and embrace them.

That’s exactly what the state of Kansas is doing in the Infant Mortality CoIIN (IM CoIIN). The Kansas team took the IM CoIIN’s assessment planning worksheet—among other tools—and have used the tools to help prioritize their state’s work.

“We took advantage of the system planning assessment tools provided by IM CoIIN and turned the assessments into action plans,” says Rachel Sisson, the Kansas Maternal and Child Health director and state IM CoIIN coordinator. “The plan has become a living, breathing document with our team. We have used the tool to select and prioritize the change ideas we want to target and identify what tasks need to get done to align with the action plan.”

Through joining in-person meetings, online webinars and using an online collaboration space, called the NICHQ Collaboratory, the Kansas IM CoIIN team has been able to build up their capacity to use quality improvement, engage stakeholders, draw attention to their work and tie the IM CoIIN work into other related projects so they are building upon existing infrastructure in the state. As a result, the Kansas Title V action plan reflects the work they are doing in IM CoIIN, and the state’s tobacco plan also aligns with the IM CoIIN smoking cessation work.

“What’s important is building upon what we’ve done along the way,” says Sisson. “We’ve implemented a great deal of infant health focused work in the past, but we wouldn’t have been able to advance our QI work without the events that NICHQ has hosted and the tools that have been provided. A lot of upfront planning work was done and it allowed us to focus on key state issues.”

NICHQ’s Elaine Fitzgerald, DrPH, MIA, project director of the IM CoIIN, couldn’t be prouder of the Kansas team, saying that they exemplify how states can benefit from the supports and resources available through the IM CoIIN.

“We provide states the infrastructure, technical assistance, and tools, meeting each state where they are. We support them to enhance existing initiatives designed to improve birth outcomes, and to learn from others, both within their state and across all the states and jurisdictions that are working towards a similar goal of reducing infant mortality,” says Fitzgerald. “From day one Kansas has embraced the concept of collective impact and has taken the tools and run with them.”

Sisson says that IM CoIIN also allowed the state to learn from and forge new relationships with other states who might be trying ideas or programs that Kansas was considering. “Setting shared goals across the nation for infant mortality and accessing a platform to learn from other states has been incredible,” she says.

Adds Sisson, “Participation is intensive, but it has allowed us to launch work and get people to the table quicker than we would have ever been able to without this.”

Learn more about the IM CoIIN initiative and how you can get involved.


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