Quality Improvement

  • 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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  • A Breastfeeding Culture Starts in the Community, Not the Hospital

    Posted August 27, 2015 by Heidi Agostinho

    I have worked in Florida helping women to breastfeed for over 25 years and I have heard multiple stories of mothers being misdirected and unsupported by healthcare professionals. I also experienced it myself. So in 2009, when I was asked to begin a project to help Florida hospitals become Baby-Friendly designated and make policy and environmental changes that most believed to be impossible, I couldn’t say no.

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  • Why I Participate: By Parent Partner Jennifer Ferrieri

    Posted August 18, 2015 by Jennifer Ferrieri

    Jennifer Ferrieri, a mother of two, shares her breastfeeding experience and why she joined the New York State Breastfeeding Quality Improvement in Hospitals (BQIH) Collaborative as a parent partner.

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  • Georgia Becomes Baby-Friendly One Hospital at a Time

    Posted August 13, 2015 by Cindy Hutter

    For DeKalb Medical Center in Decatur, Georgia, becoming designated as Baby-Friendly somehow always got relegated to a “someday list” when there was more time, more resources and fewer competing priorities. Now, someday is today. DeKalb Medical became the first hospital in Georgia to earn Baby-Friendly accreditation, a status which is reserved for birthing facilities that meet recommended care guidelines for lactating mothers and their babies. Georgia families are grateful.

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  • The Linchpin in Patient-Centered Medical Home Transformation

    Posted August 11, 2015 by NICHQ

    NICHQ has long been a champion for the active participation of family partners on improvement teams. The reason is simple: system improvement should be driven by the perspective of the people most closely affected by the system’s performance. This was a foundational principle for the CHIPRA Massachusetts Medical Home Initiative, in which the engagement of family partners on improvement teams helped transform 13 pediatric practices into patient-centered medical homes (PCMHs). As a result, the initiative was among the nominees for the 2015 John Q. Sherman Award for Excellence in Patient Engagement.

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  • The Gift of a Mother Partner

    Posted August 05, 2015 by Rebekka Henriksen

    In my role as Mother Chair for the New York State Breastfeeding Quality Improvement in Hospitals (BQIH) Collaborative, it has been my privilege to help participating hospital teams connect with and utilize their local parent partners. At times, however, hospital teams struggle with the why’s (why is this role important) and how’s (how can a parent, and more specifically, a mother partner contribute to the implementation of the 10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding).

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  • 218,000 More Babies Per Year to Be Delivered at Baby-Friendly Hospitals

    Posted August 03, 2015 by Cindy Hutter

    NICHQ is proud to celebrate breastfeeding awareness through World Breastfeeding Week and National Breastfeeding Month. These observances come on the heels of a report detailing impressive results from Best Fed Beginnings, a NICHQ-led, groundbreaking national initiative to help hospitals improve breastfeeding-related maternity care and increase the number of Baby-Friendly hospitals in the U.S.

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  • QI Tips: A Formula for Developing a Great Aim Statement

    Posted July 22, 2015 by NICHQ

    Research shows teams who develop a good aim perform better. A good aim statement captures the voice of the customer, of those we serve. It provides alignment of multiple stakeholders, helps keep the team focused on the tasks at hand, creates the urgency to accomplish the goal, provides a vision of what success looks like, and serves as a predictor of success. Here’s some guidance on how to write a great aim statement.

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  • Retraining Hospital Staff to Prioritize Breastfeeding

    Posted July 09, 2015 by Rachel Kremen

    About 80 percent of the women giving birth at CHRISTUS Hospital - St. Elizabeth in Beaumont, TX breastfeed with 50 percent exclusively breastfeeding during their stay. The exclusive rate is up 13 percent from just two years ago. The increase is a result of considerable efforts to retrain staff, eliminate formula giveaways, prioritize skin-to-skin bonding between mother and baby, and educate pregnant women about the benefits of breastfeeding.

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  • 5 Key Elements of High-Performing Pediatric Care Coordination

    Posted July 07, 2015 by NICHQ

    A new paper from NICHQ presents a framework from improving care coordination services in pediatric primary care. Derived from lessons learned from the Massachusetts CHIPRA Medical Home Learning Collaborative, the paper address five key elements of high-performing pediatric care coordination.

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  • Good Things Come in Small Changes

    Posted June 30, 2015 by Elissa Faro, PhD

    We’ve all employed the process of trial and error at some point. Small tests of change, however, transform trial and error into a disciplined process of trial and learning. The more small tests we run, the easier it becomes to make an effective, sustainable change.

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  • A Look Back at 4 Years of Improving Sickle Cell Disease Care at a Systems Level

    Posted June 11, 2015 by NICHQ

    From 2011 to 2015, NICHQ served as the National Coordinating and Evaluation Center for the Sickle Cell Disease Newborn Screening Program (SCDNBSP). NICHQ convened grantee teams and collaborated with them to focus on areas of similarity (acute care; care coordination/medical home; screening and follow up; self-management; and transition of care) to achieve breakthrough improvements in care for children and adults with SCD.

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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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  • Making Breastfeeding Support a Community Affair

    Posted May 14, 2015 by Kristen Holmstrand

    In Plattsburgh, a small town in upstate New York, creating a support group for breastfeeding mothers may have been driven by the local hospital, but it quickly became the community's baby.

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  • 8 Strategies for Surviving Team Turnover

    Posted April 01, 2015 by Cindy Hutter

    Team member turnover is unavoidable. People leave organizations, go on maternity leave or have periods when they downgrade their participation to focus on something else. Yes, it is stressful, but it doesn’t mean your improvement work comes to a halt. You can set your team up to survive member transitions with these eight strategies.

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  • Breastfeeding Collaboratives Provide Road Map for Long-Term Success

    Posted February 16, 2015 by Kristie Velarde

    Increasing exclusive breastfeeding rates can seem like a lofty goal for some hospitals, particularly when rates hover below 20 percent. Several hospitals participating in NICHQ-led learning collaboratives found a path that not only brought double-digit growth, but also set the stage for Baby-Friendly designation. Now these hospitals are using best practices to sustain breastfeeding rates and improve outcomes in other clinical areas.

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  • Sickle Cell Pain Protocol Reduces Wait Times for Meds and Eases Patient Frustration

    Posted February 13, 2015 by Rachel Kremen

    To improve the care of its sickle cell patients, Boston Medical Center developed a drug protocol that makes it possible to make quick, accurate decisions about acute care. As a result, the average time to first dose of medication for sickle cell patients experiencing a pain crisis dropped from nearly an hour to 22 minutes. ER staff also stopped second-guessing sickle cell patients asking for pain killers.

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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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