Three Projects Make Strides Towards Improving Child Health Systems

Posted July 28, 2016 by Josh Grant

Girls in arms outside
Recent developments in three NICHQ projects aim to improve systems in three different areas of child health.
At the outset of every project, we determine how it will relate to our three areas of focus—bridge health and healthcare, improve systems of care, and increase support for healthy beginnings. Recently, three new projects have touched on these foundations, progressing towards improvements in systems for children’s health and outcomes for families.

Chopping Down Challenges for Obesity Treatment
The Childhood Obesity Prevention and Treatment (CHOPT) project is designed to bridge health and healthcare by studying Medicaid programs aimed at preventing and treating childhood obesity. Families who participate in these programs are interviewed to discover what they learned, how they’re applying those lessons to their lifestyles and room for improvement in the lesson plans.

“We’re speaking with families from different areas around the country to evaluate different approaches and determine best practices for new and established programs,” said Sabrina Selk, ScD, associate director of Applied Research and Evaluation. “Because one state’s curriculum might address challenges faced by another state’s plan, and provide guidance on how to improve these programs. We want to hear from families who can point to both successes and opportunities for change.”

Family engagement
is crucial for NICHQ’s work, especially in a project like CHOPT. The interviews will be used to inform the creation of a toolkit about obesity treatment and prevention within the Medicaid population. In November, the CHOPT advisory committee, which includes NICHQ Director of Programs Meghan Johnson, MSc, will convene with some of the interviewed families to discuss Medicaid programs and define strategies for future initiatives.

Seeing Future Improvements in Pediatric Vision Care
Improving Children’s Vision: Systems, Stakeholders & Support is a learning collaborative that aims to improve systems of vision care, specifically those for detection and diagnosis of pediatric visual impairment. Working alongside the National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health at Prevent Blindness (NCCVEH), the project will bring quality improvement (QI) principles to multi-partner teams from Arizona, Ohio and Wyoming to further the implementation of universal screening procedures.

Extension for National Initiative to Reduce Infant Mortality

The Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network to Reduce Infant Mortality (IM CoIIN) has been extended for another year, allowing states to continue their improvement efforts including data collection and the disseminations of lessons learned. Read more

“The levels of pediatric vision care available vary across the U.S., making it difficult for many families to be aware of and source the most up-to-date methods for assessment, diagnosis, treatment” says Jennifer Usitaniov, MS, BSN, RN, a senior director at NICHQ. “Convening stakeholders to tackle systems issues has great potential for reducing some of the challenges we face on national and state levels to make detection and treatment of visual impairments more accessible for children.”

The states are in the earliest phases of their work, having joined the project in early June. As they progress through the project, they will convene virtually to learn QI strategies, identify local challenges and collaborate on solutions to improve vision screenings and follow-up for children in their populations.

Improving Sickle Cell Screening for Newborns

The Sickle Cell Disease Newborn Screening Program supports the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America’s (SCDAA) work with community-based organizations (CBOs) to connect families with healthcare providers who have expertise in sickle cell disease (SCD) and enroll patients with SCD in Get Connected, the SCDAA’s patient powered national registry. CBOs have hired Community Health Workers (CHW) who work closely with families to help find medical care, a challenge due to the scarcity of practitioners with SCD expertise. NICHQ will evaluate CHW’s efforts to connect patients with appropriate resources and care.

“An evaluation of the CHWs’ efforts is essential in order to be able to describe the type of work they’re doing and develop recommendations for current and future processes” says Samatha Riley, DrPH, MPH, MS, a senior analyst at NICHQ. “Once we understand what CHW’s are doing, we’ll be able to provide information that’ll allow CBO’s to incorporate successful strategies in their programs.”

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