Building a Culture of Collaboration Within Multilevel Systems
In our line of work, positive outcomes depend on the careful synergy of multiple systems. Because children’s health is influenced by a great many factors, simultaneously engaging systems at the community, city, state and government level is essential for significant change.
All too often we discover that two state agencies can be closely aligned on their goal, but working independently to reach it. When we work collaboratively instead, we’re able to pool, leverage and reinforce our resources for a common aim—a major benefit when such resources are often extremely limited.
A new e-course—NICHQ’s Essentials of Collaboration—provides strategies for healthy collaboration. One of the first steps is setting a clear aim, so that participants in an improvement project at all system levels know what they are working toward and understand their role in creating change. As we work to unite everyone around a common aim, team leaders should attempt to gain a complete picture of the context under which participants are currently working. Once they have a firm grasp on the specific assets and limitations of each system, leaders can provide teams with the right tools and resources to reach their goal.
When it comes to understanding the nuances of how a system operates, active listening can be incredibly powerful. Active listening is not only helpful in fostering the robust relationships at the heart of healthy collaboration; it may also shed light on the historical context of each system (as well as the areas where various systems intersect). Active listening can also bring about a shift in perspective that allows team leaders to guide collaboration more effectively. Rather than asking how to get participants fully engaged in the improvement process, for instance, we might frame the question as: “What do team members need from us so that they can fulfill their goals?” This subtle distinction helps in adopting a collaborative mindset.
Another key aspect of cultivating healthy collaboration is tuning into each participant’s unique strengths and weaknesses. Pinpointing weak spots can help you anticipate the necessary resources to support the team, while identifying and honoring a team member’s strengths can boost motivation and give projects fuel for long-lasting change. By capitalizing on people’s strengths, you grant them the opportunity to do what they most enjoy. And when people quickly see results from their work, they’re usually inspired to stay committed and even step up their efforts.
Creating a Structure for Improvement in Complex Health Systems
Positively intervening in early childhood development means creating a system that supports the people at all levels, from those working in healthcare and social services settings, to daycare and community support networks, to those in the child’s home. These three essential strategies can help develop such a system, close the gap between research and practice, and take positive steps toward change.
What’s Next for Sickle Cell Disease Improvement? Three Areas That Still Need Our Attention
Right now, close to 100,000 people in the U.S. are battling sickle cell disease (SCD). This means that 100,000 people, many of whom are children, spend days experiencing acute pain, dealing with costly and uncomfortable hospitalizations, and fighting off infections. We can change that. Here are three key areas for targeted improvement.
The Most Insightful Stories of 2017
With 2017 drawing to a close, we’re taking stock of some of our hits and highlights. From change management advice to project results and takeaways, here’s a rundown of the website stories you found most engaging over the past year.
Closing the Breastfeeding Disparity Gap: Methods for Improvement
When compared to all other racial groups, Hispanic mothers are most likely to supplement breastmilk with formula within the first two days of life. One hospital on the Texas-Mexico border, serving a nearly 100 percent Hispanic population, has introduced a variety of interventions aimed at closing the breastfeeding disparity gap, specifically as it relates to exclusive breastfeeding.
Don’t Let These Common Collaboration Challenges Derail Your Change Effort
Collaboration can get complicated quickly but proactively acknowledging common challenges can help keep your collaboration effort on course. To help, we’ve compiled strategies for managing frequent pitfalls so that you can not only initiate, but maintain effective collaboration.
A Proactive Approach to Early Children’s Vision Screening
As part of the Improving Children’s Vision: Systems, Stakeholders & Support (ICV) initiative, NICHQ is helping three states to develop comprehensive, coordinated approaches to improving vision and eye health for children under age 5. Introducing a systems-level approach can best overcome geographic and economic obstacles, and navigate the various components of state and community health systems.