What is a Quality Improvement (QI) Collaborative?

QI Collborative

The EMSC Innovation and Improvement Center (EIIC) routinely offers free QI Collaborative opportunities on behalf of the EMSC Program. Using the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s (IHI) Breakthrough Series Model as the underpinning of our work, QI Collaboratives engage multidisciplinary teams in improving care in a specific area through cycles of planning, action, measurement, and learning over a period of six to 18 months.

Teams need not have QI training or background. The focus is on the places where emergency care is provided to children - from critical access hospitals, community EDs, tribal communities, EMS agencies, to high-volume academic medical centers. QI Collaboratives also may accelerate the work of the larger EMSC Program, specifically the EMSC State Partnership Program.

What makes QI Collaboratives unique?

PDSA Cycle

Following the IHI model, QI Collaboratives emphasize developing implementation strategies using evidence versus passive learning of evidence. The ultimate goal and purpose is to tangibly and meaningfully improve care.

How it works:

  1. A high-priority focus area is chosen
  2. Teams form and register to participate
  3. Teams are oriented to the focus area and may complete environmental scans and/or gap analyses
  4. Teams engage in learning sessions, fireside chats, office hours, though which resources are shared and exchanged
  5. Teams identify and develop a project using the “Plan, Do, Study, Act” improvement cycle, with optional coaching assistance available
  6. Projects are shared with other teams
  7. The work and findings can result in implementation toolkits, summative papers, communities of practice, and more.

What are the benefits of participating?

Expert support in testing strategies. Participants receive coaching and support in developing a project to apply and test the lessons learned, meaning they have the opportunity to see real results in their setting immediately. Participants can then measure and evaluate these results.

Centralized resources and assistance. One of the greatest benefits of QI Collaboratives is access to the centralization of tools and resources, including evidence-informed best practices and change strategies; project management; IT, data management, and analytics support; and QI training that will help sustain improvement efforts.

All teach, all learn. While the majority of time spent in a QI Collaborative involves implementing and assessing local improvement efforts, learning sessions serve as a forum for all participants to gather virtually and share successes and challenges.

Diversity of participants. The diversity of participants ensures that all teams have an opportunity to learn about different emergency care settings and adopt best practices shared by teams from other facilities. Learning sessions are typically held on a monthly basis during the course of the QI Collaborative.

Continuing education credit. QI Collaboratives typically offer continuing education or maintenance of certification credits.

Lasting results. Ultimately, participation in a QI Collaborative is about improving outcomes, tangibly and rapidly. In addition to the direct benefits of each team’s participation and improvement project, the work and findings of each QI Collaborative can result in:

  • implementation toolkits,
  • summative papers,
  • communities of practice,
  • and more,

ensuring lessons learned help improve care long after the QI Collaborative has ended. To learn more about QI in the EMSC Program, read our 2019 white paper.

Sustaining the lessons learned.

Once completed, EIIC’s QI Collaboratives can transition into communities of practice. These forums aim to sustain and build on the resources and best practices of the collaborative. In addition, QI Collaboratives often result in the development of toolkits of resources and/or in the publication of a research paper summarizing findings.