Finding Common Ground: Harmonizing the Application of Different Quality Improvement Models in Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health Programs

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Various quality improvement (QI) models are applied in the health field. All of them aim to improve the quality of health care but have different structures, steps, and terminology. This variation creates an impression of fundamental differences among the models, while in fact a closer look at their core  contents reveals common elements. Failure to see the commonalities creates barriers to  communication among QI partners, hinders coordination of QI efforts, and misses opportunities to achieve synergies to augment the collective results of QI programs.

This paper attempts to systematically review and compare QI models that have been applied extensively in maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH) or are potentially effective models for MNCH programs. These models are: COPE® (Client-Oriented, Provider-Efficient Services), Fully Functional Service Delivery Point (FFSDP), HIVQUAL, Improvement Collaborative, Improving Newborn Health, Partnership Defined Quality (PDQ), Private Sector Quality Improvement Package, Quality Design/Redesign, Reaching Every District (RED), and Standards-Based Management and Recognition (SBM-R). The authors reached a definition of “quality improvement” that encompasses most models: “a cyclical process of measuring a performance gap; understanding the causes of the gap; testing, planning, and implementing interventions to close the gap; studying the effects of the interventions; and planning additional corrective actions in response.”

The paper identifies the models’ essential elements in an attempt to find common ground: a place where those who apply different QI models can discuss them with a common language and understanding.

Such common ground can demonstrate the similarity of the various models and hence facilitate dialogue and coordination among partners, donors, and stakeholders who use or support the different models.

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