Tools and applications of QI methodology in Neonatal-Perinatal practice

The March 2010 issue of Clinics in Perinatology (www.perinatology.theclinics.com), published by Elsevier, provides Neonatologists and Maternal-Fetal-Medicine specialists with the tools and concepts necessary to understand Quality Improvement (QI) methodology and to initiate QI projects within their own practices and neonatal intensive care units (NICUs).

With the American Board of Pediatrics recently making quality improvement part of its program for the Maintenance of Certification process, this issue of Clinics in Perinatology comes at an important time for physicians when participation in quality initiatives is being recognized as a core of their medical career.

Guest Editors Alan R. Spitzer, MD (Senior Vice President and Director, Center for Research, Education, and Quality, Pediatrix Medical Group) and Dan L. Ellsbury, MD (Director, Continuous Quality Improvement, Pediatrix Medical Group) have invited some of the world's foremost QI leaders to share their expertise on a variety of topics addressing the tools and specific applications of Quality Improvement methodology in Neonatal-Perinatal practice.

The issue includes articles on topics such as: "Crossing the Quality Chasm" in neonatal and perinatal care, QI methodologies and measurement, human factors related to QI, using evidence-based medicine, and the role of data collection, as well as tools for "Meaningful Use", quality-assurance procedures, pay for performance, and collaboration between obstetricians and neonatologists. Various QI programs and resources offered by Pediatrix Medical Group, the Vermont Oxford Network, and the California Perinatal Quality Care Collaborative are also reviewed. Specific applications of QI practices are covered in articles addressing the improvement of outcomes and delivery room interventions, comprehensive oxygen management for the prevention of retinopathy of prematurity (COMP-ROP), the use of human milk, decreasing central line associated infections, and improving chronic lung disease.

Drs. Spitzer and Ellsbury highlight that while quality improvement has been an integral part of Neonatal and Maternal-Fetal Medicine for decades, outcome evaluation and the role of QI processes in improving patient care is quickly becoming an even larger part of the physician's daily life. As a result, their focus as guest editors is on the agenda of QI in continuing to move neonatal-perinatal outcomes in a positive direction for all physicians who "remain deeply committed to our infants surviving with the fewest possible adverse outcomes".

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