Quality Improvement

  • 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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  • How to Cope with Change Fatigue

    Posted April 24, 2015 by Cindy Hutter

    Here at NICHQ, we’re in the improvement business. That means we help a lot of people experience a great deal of change. Whether imposed or chosen, however, frequent change efforts can sometimes lead to change fatigue.

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  • Join Team NICHQ

    Posted April 17, 2015 by Cindy Hutter

    What makes someone the right candidate to work at NICHQ? We look for excellent people with a passion for improving children’s health who live NICHQ’s values of being agile, bold, innovative, team oriented and fun. If that sounds like you, we encourage you to view our current job openings.

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  • LARC Accessibility, Knowledge Key for Better Interconception Care

    Posted April 15, 2015 by Rachel Kremen

    Contraception is often the last thing on a woman’s mind right after her baby is born. But increasing maternal access to long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) immediately after delivery could have a positive impact on the health of the newborn and future siblings.

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  • The Secret to Increasing Hospital Breastfeeding Rates

    Posted April 09, 2015 by Emily Trask

    As hospitals work to increase exclusive breastfeeding rates, they are often challenged by staff members who are resistant to new processes and workflows. Several hospitals are successfully overcoming this obstacle by fostering staff change agents who are involved in the decisions on changes to existing workflows.

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  • What’s Behind NYC's Drastic Decrease in Infant Mortality Rates?

    Posted April 07, 2015 by Cindy Hutter

    The saying, "if you can make it here you can make it anywhere," of New York City, holds true for even its youngest members. New York City’s infant mortality rate - 4.6 deaths per 1,000 live births in the first year of life - is nearly 30 percent lower than the US rate. What’s the city’s secret?

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  • Making the Case for Using an Internal PTF for Medical Homes

    Posted April 03, 2015 by Cindy Hutter

    In our new white paper, Cultivating Internal Change Agents for Medical Home Transformation, learn about an innovative approach to training internal practice transformation facilitators (PTFs) for medical home implementation efforts.

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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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  • Transforming Children's Health Never Ends, and for Good Reason

    Posted March 27, 2015 by Charles Homer, MD, MPH

    From its founding, NICHQ was the leading voice articulating the need for improvement in children’s healthcare. Speaking credibly to the academic, professional and policy communities, we emphasized that quality of care was important to child health, and that it needed focused attention. The improvement journey is hard work and it never ends, but we’re in a better place and have the knowledge, people and tools we need to continue improving the lives of children and families in the months and years ahead.

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  • Innovation in the Fight Against Infant Mortality Doesn’t Have to be Scary

    Posted March 16, 2015 by George Dellal, MHA, and Dawn Denno, EdD

    It has been widely documented that the United States lags far behind other developed nations when it comes to infant mortality. Our high infant mortality rate translates to nearly 24,000 babies who won’t live to see their first birthday each year. Despite our country’s best efforts and the millions of dollars spent studying the epidemiology and genetics behind prematurity, educating new parents about safe sleep practices, implementing smoking cessation programs and developing better prenatal care, our infant mortality rate remains tragically, unacceptably high. We owe our mothers better than what we’re providing.

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  • How Delaware Became a Model for States in Preventing Infant Deaths

    Posted March 11, 2015 by Cindy Hutter

    Delaware is capturing the attention of the nation as a source of public health and healthcare innovation. The state’s commitment to examining its infant mortality data, searching for common themes and then creating awareness campaigns to address the unwanted trends is leading to fewer infant deaths.

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  • 8 Tips for Engaging Leaders in Your Project

    Posted March 03, 2015 by Cindy Hutter

    Lack of leadership support is one of the most common reasons that a quality improvement project fails. Whether it is executive, administrative or frontline leadership you are trying to convince, we have eight field-tested tips that will enable your leaders to not only support your project, but also advocate for it.

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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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