Quality Improvement

  • Why I Participate: By Parent Partner Ivette Torres

    Posted April 26, 2016 by Ivette Torres

    Ivette Torres shares why proper support is key for positive breastfeeding outcomes and how her experiences led her to join the Texas Ten Step Star Achiever Breastfeeding Learning Collaborative as a parent partner.

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  • A New Primer for PCPs on Starting a Healthy Weight Clinic

    Posted April 21, 2016 by Josh Grant

    Developed as part of the Mass in Motion Kids Learning Collaborative, NICHQ’s new Healthy Weight Clinic Guide teaches providers how they can develop, implement and maintain community-based pediatric healthy weight clinics. The Healthy Weight Clinic Guide is an opportunity for healthcare providers, families and children to address obesity together and promote healthy living.

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  • Using Telementoring to Improve Care for Patients With Sickle Cell Disease

    Posted April 19, 2016 by Sonya Spillmann, RN

    In the United States, nearly 100,000 people have the inherited red blood cell disorder sickle cell disease (SCD), yet access to knowledgeable providers throughout their lifespan is one of the biggest challenges for these patients. With a desire to narrow this disparity, groups of SCD experts are teaching healthcare providers how to capably manage patients with SCD by harnessing the power of technology, including telementoring.

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  • Delaware Hones in on Medical-Legal Partnerships to Reduce Infant Mortality

    Posted April 05, 2016 by Wendy Loveland

    A pregnant woman living in poverty faces stress that often has negative consequences for her and her baby’s health, including infant mortality. Unmet housing needs, lack of access to quality healthcare, financial insecurity, immigration status and family stability are just some of the social determinants of health affecting pregnant women. Many of these stressful situations require legal aid, but healthcare and the law have historically worked separately. The Delaware team participating in the Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network to Reduce Infant Mortality (IM CoIIN), led by NICHQ, is working to develop medical-legal partnerships (MLPs) to address these stressors in an integrated way and improve health outcomes for women and babies.

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  • Why I Participate: By Parent Partner Mercédez Cahue

    Posted March 31, 2016 by Mercédez Cahue

    Mercédez Cahue shares her breastfeeding experience and why she joined the Texas Ten Step Star Achiever Breastfeeding Learning Collaborative as a parent partner.

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  • Just Download It: Wyoming Discovers Novel Way to Help Pregnant Mothers

    Posted March 29, 2016 by Cindy Hutter

    Wyoming is improving its birth outcomes one downloader at a time. An interactive mobile app—Due Date Plus—that the state Medicaid office developed for pregnant women is redefining prenatal education and transforming how Medicaid meets the needs of its pregnant population.

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  • 6 Tips for Encouraging Pilot Sites to Collect Data

    Posted March 17, 2016 by Cindy Hutter

    Engaging pilot sites to test out change ideas and collect data is one of the best ways to learn how to make change at a local level. Pilot sites can test ideas and assist with planning and implementing a project “on the ground” with individuals in a project’s target audience. If pilot sites are challenged around collecting data to drive their improvement efforts, here are six tips to support them.

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  • Better Care for High-Risk Babies: Improving Perinatal Regionalization in Illinois

    Posted March 10, 2016 by Elizabeth Baker

    An ongoing effort from the Illinois team involved in the Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network to Reduce Infant Mortality (IM CoIIN) is to get 90 percent of very preterm infants in Illinois delivered in Level 3 perinatal facilities. These facilities feature neonatal intensive care units (NICUs), where a combination of leading-edge technology and specially trained staff can vastly improve health outcomes for high-risk babies.

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  • WIC Reps Bridge Gap Between Community and Hospitals through Breastfeeding Support

    Posted March 08, 2016 by Sonya Spillmann, RN

    With both large urban and rural areas in Texas, sharing consistent and accurate information about the benefits of breastfeeding with mothers and healthcare workers is an enormous undertaking. One statewide initiative, the Texas Ten Step Star Achiever Breastfeeding Learning Collaborative, is harnessing the power of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) staff, using them as conduits for communicating evidence-based practices and offering guidance to both mothers and healthcare providers.

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  • South Carolina Finds Winning Strategy to Reducing Unintended Pregnancies in its Medicaid Population

    Posted March 01, 2016 by Wendy Loveland

    In South Carolina, half of all pregnancies in 2010 were unintended, primarily due to either lack of or failed contraceptives. Within the South Carolina Medicaid population, almost 79 percent of women defined their pregnancy as unintended. This is particularly troubling because births resulting from unintended pregnancies are linked to adverse maternal and child health outcomes and myriad social and economic challenges. To reduce this percentage, South Carolina Medicaid began a policy change in 2012 aimed at increasing the use of immediate postpartum inpatient insertions of long-acting, reversible contraceptives (LARCs).

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  • NICHQ's Internal PTF Model Proves a ‘Promising Practice’ in Medical Home Transformation

    Posted February 25, 2016 by Cindy Hutter

    The National Center for Medical Home Implementation has named NICHQ’s CHIPRA Massachusetts Medical Home Initiative an “innovative and promising practice” in pediatric medical home implementation. The initiative focused on helping 13 pediatric practices in Massachusetts successfully implement a medical home model of care. Unique to the project was the use of an internal practice transformation facilitator (PTF)—a motivated individual currently employed within the practice—to manage the day-to-day implementation needs of the pediatric medical home transformation.

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  • Second-Time Moms Appreciate Hospital Changes to Support Breastfeeding

    Posted February 23, 2016 by Rachel Kremen

    When Nicole Acosta delivered her first child in May 2013, she knew she wanted to breastfeed, but she didn’t get as much support as she’d expected at her hospital, Good Samaritan Medical Center in West Islip, NY. Despite an uncomplicated delivery, no one suggested immediate skin-to-skin contact—a practice known to increase the likelihood of breastfeeding success. By the time she had her second son in June 2015, things had certainly changed at the hospital.

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  • NYS Hospitals See Dramatic Results in Breastfeeding Collaborative

    Posted February 17, 2016 by Cindy Hutter

    Recruitment is open for hospitals in New York State to join the state’s Breastfeeding Quality Improvement in Hospitals (BQIH) Learning Collaborative. If the results of the predecessor cohort of hospitals is any indication, these new recruits are in for some big changes.

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  • How Kansas is Leveraging the Infant Mortality CoIIN to Accelerate Improvement

    Posted February 11, 2016 by Cindy Hutter

    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.

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  • The Long-Term Value of Better Breastfeeding Support

    Posted February 09, 2016 by Liz Barker

    For hospitals and patients alike, the benefits of boosting breastfeeding support last far beyond any hospital stay. Investing in improved maternity practices can lead to major quality gains, jumps in patient satisfaction, and slashed healthcare costs—not to mention its power to drive up breastfeeding rates and protect the health of both moms and babies.

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  • The Value of Increasing Exclusive Breastfeeding along the Texas-Mexico Border

    Posted February 04, 2016 by Wendy Loveland

    A baseline report shows that only 15 percent of infants born in South Texas (Health Service Region 11) in 2009 were exclusively breastfed on their second day of life compared to 42 percent of infants in Texas overall, and as many as 55 percent in other parts of the state. An increase in exclusive breastfeeding in the Valley could not only increase the state’s overall rate, but could provide a roadmap for other similar communities to follow to improve the health of their residents.

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  • 3 Tips for Transforming Data Into Visuals That Tell A Clear Story

    Posted February 02, 2016 by Julius Anastasio

    A big part of gaining buy-in, enabling change, or effectively explaining progress depends on how we convey the data we’ve been collecting, and the story we tell about it. So while data collection and analysis can be hard, effective data presentation is even harder.

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  • Join Interactive Webinar on Improving the Health of New Mothers

    Posted January 26, 2016 by Cindy Hutter

    NICHQ, along with partners AMCHP and the UNC Center for Maternal and Infant Health, is turning the session “Improving the Health of New Mothers: Building Woman‐Centered Postpartum Systems of Care” into a free public webinar. We invite you to join us on Feb. 2, from 3:30-5 p.m. ET

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  • Tips for Sustaining Leadership Involvement in Your QI Project

    Posted January 22, 2016 by Cindy Hutter

    When it comes to sustaining change, many of the critical elements required in leading change—creating urgency, having a vision and strategy, removing obstacles, solidifying gains—are all still required. But one key element to make sure change sticks and gets anchored to a culture is to nurture a coalition of formal and informal leaders that support the ongoing improvement effort.

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  • I'm a Coach, But You Have the Answers

    Posted January 12, 2016 by Elaine Fitzgerald, DrPH, MIA

    Coaching isn’t just ingrained in me, it’s ingrained in NICHQ. As we work with partners and team members at every level, we aim to be a coach that provides guidance and builds confidence. We offer best practices and support teams to think about sustainable approaches for applying, adapting and testing those ideas within their own settings and communities.

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  • 5 Tips for Testing to Optimize Your Next PDSA

    Posted January 06, 2016 by Cindy Hutter

    The Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycle is a fundamental tool in the quality improvement tool belt. PDSA cycles are used to test, implement and spread change ideas in a systematic way. Regardless of your improvement framework—collective impact, the breakthrough series, etc.—PDSAs can be used.

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  • Supporting Breastfeeding Across A Hospital System

    Posted January 04, 2016 by Wendy Loveland

    Changing a habit is not easy, even when you know it is “good for you.” The same goes for changing healthcare systems. The benefits of breastfeeding are well known, and supported by the World Health Organization, the Joint Commission, and many other healthcare accreditation and oversight agencies and experts. However, many hospitals struggle to create environments that support mothers who choose to breastfeed.

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  • States Use Home Visiting Programs to Spread Safe Sleep Messages

    Posted November 18, 2015 by Cindy Hutter

    The growing demand for maternal and child health services and support, coupled with stagnant or shrinking resources, is causing state health departments to find creative ways to do more with less. Many states are leveraging home visiting programs as a convenient way to spread important information and strategies related to safe sleep practices, a key component of infant mortality reduction efforts.

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  • Being Small Has Advantages for Hospitals Implementing the Ten Steps

    Posted November 13, 2015 by Cindy Hutter

    Turns out, size may not matter. Small rural hospitals in New York State are experiencing as much, if not more, success in implementing evidenced-based practices to improve maternity care practices as their bigger suburban and urban counterparts.

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  • Bringing the APHA Poster Session to You

    Posted November 05, 2015 by Cindy Hutter

    NICHQ staff members were thrilled to see so many familiar faces at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting in Chicago earlier this week. The meeting’s theme was “Health in All Policies.” We couldn’t agree more that the environments in which people learn, live, play and work have a tremendous impact on their health.

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  • 5 Reasons Why Evaluation Matters to Your Project

    Posted November 03, 2015 by Rachel Levine

    As a Senior Analyst at NICHQ, I’m a huge proponent of evaluation. The reason is simple: projects may sound compelling and seem worthwhile, but it is hard to know if they actually achieve their goals without collecting data and conducting an evaluation. Evaluation data provides a window into whether, why and how programs achieve their goals. Evaluation is also essential to ensure that limited resources are utilized most efficiently for the greatest possible impact. Still need convincing? Here are five reasons why evaluation matters to your project and how to get it done.

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  • 4 Tips for Reducing Formula Supplementation in the Hospital

    Posted October 27, 2015 by Kristie Velarde

    When a patient recently delivered her second baby at Harris Health System’s Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital in Houston, she was surrounded by a team dedicated to supporting her decision to breastfeed. The support, which began in the delivery room and continued after she returned home, made a difference.

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  • New Video: Methods for Moving a Nation

    Posted October 22, 2015 by Cindy Hutter

    In this new video from the IM CoIIN project, hear how the project is cleverly combining three key methods for change—collaborative learning, innovation networks and quality improvement—to achieve results in reducing infant mortality across the country.

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  • NY Hospital Sees Breastfeeding Rates Soar with Neonatologist Leading Change

    Posted October 15, 2015 by Kristie Velarde

    Yogangi Malhotra, MD, attending neonatologist and an early champion of breastfeeding, knew it wouldn’t be easy to bring change to New York’s Montefiore New Rochelle Hospital. But, her unique role as a neonatologist and the QI project team leader helped foster change more quickly in five key areas.

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  • The Vision That Ties Us Together

    Posted October 13, 2015 by Scott Berns, MD, MPH

    I will do everything within my power to continue NICHQ’s legacy of making improvements that matter in the lives of all children and families—so that ALL children can achieve their optimal health.

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  • Holding Your QI Gains without the Pain

    Posted October 06, 2015 by Cindy Hutter

    Ensuring sustainability is not something you do at the end of a project; it should be built in from the start. If you are panicking and thinking, “But we haven’t done that!” Don’t worry. Your project most likely has a sustainability focus without you even realizing it.

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  • Paying Tribute to My 'Letterman'

    Posted October 01, 2015 by Scott Berns

    As Scott Berns prepares to take the reigns as NICHQ's new President and CEO next week, he reflects on the past and looks ahead to the organization's bright future.

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  • Why Applying Quality Improvement Techniques to Non-clinical Data Makes Sense

    Posted September 25, 2015 by Sabrina Selk

    The growing trend of increasing capacity and timeliness of collecting surveillance data (such as birth and death records used by epidemiologists) is opening up opportunities for these rich data sources to be used for quality improvement (QI) efforts.

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  • 4 Steps for Starting a Patient and Family Advisory Council

    Posted September 18, 2015 by Cindy Hutter

    While it takes time, energy and commitment to build and maintain a patient and family advisory council (PFAC), getting started is straightforward. Just follow these four steps from the Creating a Patient and Family Advisory Council: A Toolkit for Pediatric Practices:

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  • Prenatal to Postpartum Continuum of Care Provides Benefits for Mothers Choosing to Breastfeed

    Posted September 15, 2015 by Cindy Hutter

    Educating mothers about the benefits of breastfeeding before they enter the hospital increases the likelihood mothers will choose the beneficial feeding method. However, building bridges between care providers, community groups and hospitals can be surprisingly difficult. One community participating in the New York State Breastfeeding Quality Improvement in Hospitals (BQIH) Learning Collaborative has figured it out.

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  • Resources and Must Reads for Infant Mortality Awareness and Sickle Cell Awareness Month

    Posted September 01, 2015 by NICHQ

    NICHQ is joining with organizations around the country and world to celebrate Infant Mortality Awareness Month and National Sickle Cell Awareness Month in September. NICHQ has a long history of working to improve outcomes on these health topics. We invite you to explore and share our resources, stories, videos and other materials related to reducing infant mortality rates and improving care for individuals with sickle cell disease.

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  • Inspiring Video: How States Are Reducing Infant Mortality Rates

    Posted May 21, 2015 by Cindy Hutter

    In this new video from the IM CoIIN project, you can hear success stories and strategies being used to reduce infant mortality and eliminate racial disparities in cities, counties and towns across the US.

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  • Why and How to Include the Patient-Family Voice in a Medical Home

    Posted December 23, 2014 by Bonnie Thompson, Mass Family Voices

    As more primary care practices work towards identifying themselves as a medical home, patients and family caregivers can play a vital role in shaping how healthcare is delivered.

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  • Incorporating Quality Improvement in Public Health

    Posted November 11, 2014 by Lloyd Provost, MS

    From my recent experience at the Infant Mortality Summits, a meeting of the Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network (CoIIN) to Reduce Infant Mortality, it seems that the time is ripe for the widespread growth of quality improvement (QI) strategies in the public health arena.

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  • Stories Matter

    Posted October 20, 2014 by Marianne McPherson, PhD, MS

    In previous blog posts, I’ve often featured a children’s story as the jumping off point for my message. This time, “story” is the message.

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  • A Busy Summer: Building Blocks, Babies and Breastfeeding

    Posted August 15, 2014 by Meghan Johnson, MSc

    August is typically a month for relaxing, vacationing and taking long weekends to enjoy the warm weather. At NICHQ, we get our share of R & R, but August 2014 is also a particularly busy and exciting time! In August, we celebrate National Breastfeeding Month and World Breastfeeding Week (August 1-7), and as part of that, I am excited to help launch NICHQ’s new breastfeeding project with the New York State Department of Health.

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  • What's in a Name

    Posted April 14, 2014 by Charlie Homer

    To more accurately reflect our purpose, we are making a change in our name, from “healthcare” to “health.” NICHQ’s purpose has always been to improve children’s health. That is our passion and now our name is aligned.

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  • Life Lessons from a First Grade Teacher

    Posted March 18, 2014 by Jonathan Small, MBA

    Many years later, the life lessons I learned from my son's first-grade teacher in 1998 are still profoundly influential, especially when viewed through the lens of quality improvement, a framework I learned later in life.

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  • Viewing Health as a System

    Posted March 07, 2014 by Charlie Homer, MD, MPH

    Improvement science teaches us to view outcomes—such as health—as the inevitable product of a system, with the implication that achieving improved outcomes requires changing the system itself. A deep understanding of the system and how it functions can enable smarter decisions about selecting high leverage changes in order to improve system performance.

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  • Have We Turned the Tide on Childhood Obesity?

    Posted March 04, 2014 by Shikha Anand, MD, MPH

    If you’ve read anything about obesity in the lay press over the past week, you already know that there has been a decline in the prevalence of obesity in American preschoolers.This news is both exhilarating and anxiety provoking. Celebrating too early could distract from the fact that there is so much more work to be done, especially for our most vulnerable children.

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  • Far From a Gold Medal Performance

    Posted February 28, 2014 by Jonathan Small, MBA

    We have a long way to go before we get a gold medal in child health outcomes. I suggest we begin in a humble place – with the recognition that, while we may have much to teach other countries, we also have a lot to learn.

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  • What I Learned About Physician Autonomy at the ATM Machine

    Posted January 13, 2014 by Shikha Anand, MD, MPH

    Now that I have the opportunity to work for a quality improvement organization with a vision of ensuring each child achieves his or her optimal health, and to process this information through the lens of my own experiences (personal and professional), my heart still breaks for those children harmed by bullying…AND I see great opportunities for improvement.

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  • Improvement - A Philosophy to Live By

    Posted January 11, 2014 by Meghan Johnson, MSc

    For as long as I can remember, I have been working to make things more organized, effective and efficient. I have spent countless hours organizing and reorganizing things in my life – everything from my son’s toys and games to the storage of our digital photos. It shouldn’t be surprising, then, that I have spent over a decade in project management and just over a year ago, found my way to NICHQ and discovered quality improvement science.

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  • Like Halloween Every Day

    Posted January 08, 2014 by Rachel Sachs Steele, MEd

    I love Halloween. For one day every year, I get to try something new, look totally silly, celebrate fear and play with possibilities, all without the usual external or internal constraints. Can you imagine what life would be like if we had that freedom all the time?

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  • An Improvement Wake-Up Call

    Posted January 07, 2014 by Jonathan Small, MBA

    It never ceases to amaze me what I learn from my children, especially the youngest ones – my eight-year-old twin daughters. I’ve been working in the quality improvement field for longer than they’ve been alive. But now they’re the ones teaching me about it!

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