ABSTRACT: Pediatric collaborative improvement networks: background and overview.
Multiple gaps exist in health care quality and outcomes for children, who receive <50% of recommended care. The American Board of Pediatrics has worked to develop an improvement network model for pediatric subspecialties as the optimal means to improve child health outcomes and to allow subspecialists to meet the performance in practice component of Maintenance of Certification requirements. By using successful subspecialty initiatives as exemplars, and features of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Breakthrough Series model, currently 9 of 14 pediatric subspecialties have implemented collaborative network improvement efforts. Key components include a common aim to improve care; national multicenter prospective collaborative improvement efforts; reducing unnecessary variation by identifying, adopting, and testing best practices; use of shared, valid, high-quality real-time data; infrastructure support to apply improvement science; and public sharing of outcomes. As a key distinguisher from time-limited collaboratives, ongoing pediatric collaborative improvement networks begin with a plan to persist until aims are achieved and improvement is sustained. Additional evidence from within and external to health care has accrued to support the model since its proposal in 2002, including the Institute of Medicine’s vision for a Learning Healthcare System. Required network infrastructure systems and capabilities have been delineated and can be used to accelerate the spread of the model. Pediatric collaborative improvement networks can serve to close the quality gap, engage patients and caregivers in shared learning, and act as laboratories for accelerated translation of research into practice and new knowledge discovery, resulting in improved care and outcomes for children.