Over the past several decades the infant mortality rate in the U.S. has improved, however, in recent years, rates of decline have slowed and disparities in rates persist by race/ethnicity, geography, and other social determinants of health (e.g., education, income). Further, maternal mortality and morbidity rates are on the rise, with extreme disparities in outcomes. Perinatal Quality Collaboratives (PQCs) are uniquely positioned to accelerate improvement and reduce disparities in infant mortality, maternal mortality and maternal morbidity outcomes.
The National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ), a nationally recognized leader in quality improvement (QI) methodology and collaborative learning, proposes to serve as the coordinating center for the National Network of Perinatal Quality Collaboratives (NNPQC) – Component B. As the coordinating center for the NNPQC from 2017-2022, NICHQ has established collaborative working relationships with all PQCs across the US and will leverage a deep knowledge of PQCs’ strengths and challenges to guide the provision of relevant, timely, and effective support. Key partnerships with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and the March of Dimes, will further ensure PQCs have access to the capacity building resources, technical assistance (TA), and partnerships needed to accelerate and deepen improvement efforts to reduce maternal and infant morbidity and mortality, improve perinatal health outcomes, and reduce disparities through the use of QI and implementation science methods integrated with a health equity approach. NICHQ will develop a tailored approach to TA and support, composed of activities that will increase collaboration within and across PQCs and improve PQCs’ capacity to use QI to improve perinatal outcomes. Specifically, NICHQ will:
•Conduct an annual assessment of capacity, TA needs, facility participation, and QI efforts of PQCs
•Strengthen skills in QI methodology (all PQCs) and implementation science (funded PQCs) using results of the annual assessment to develop individualized and group approaches according to the needs and readiness of each PQC
•Increase engagement of patients, families and communities in PQC initiatives
•Support the integration of health equity across PQC initiatives through the development of a health equity community of practice
•Collaborate with the Alliance for Innovation in Maternal Health Data Community of Learning to support PQCs around the use and development of data systems
•Provide dissemination strategies to funded PQCs to assist them with sharing initiative results, lessons learned, and best practices
•Foster consistent collaborative peer-to-peer sharing and learning via multiple platforms including monthly TA calls, group coaching calls, and a standalone NNPQC website
NICHQ’s NNPQC strategies and activities will drive toward the following expected outcomes:
Short Term Outcomes
•Increased implementation of QI initiatives across the nation, including facilities serving disproportionately impacted populations
•Increased implementation of QI initiatives to reduce disparities across the nation
•Increased patient/community engagement with PQCs throughout the US
•Improved health care practices equitably
•Improved clinical-community linkages
Long Term Outcomes:
•Equitable Improvement in population-level perinatal measures
Process and outcome evaluations will address the efficacy of the NNPQC in increasing PQC knowledge and capacity around implementation of QI and increasing reach and implementation of QI activities among PQCs nationally, particularly among those facilities serving those disproportionately impacted by adverse perinatal outcomes.
Ultimately, over the course of the five-year project, NICHQ will assist PQCs to reduce maternal and infant mortality, improve health outcomes, and reduce disparities based on race, socioeconomic status, geography and other factors in perinatal health outcomes.