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The VHA New England Medication Error Prevention Initiative as a Model for Long-Term Improvement Collaboratives

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Background: Quality improvement collaboratives (QICs) are a widely applied strategy for implementing change in health care organizations. Alternative collaborative methodologies were compared to gain insight into the elements important for QIC success.

Methods: A modified version of a previously described QIC evaluation tool was used to assess the methods and characteristics of the Medication Error Prevention Initiative (MEPI) and to compare MEPI with two other long-term ongoing QICs—the Vermont-Oxford Network's Neonatal Intensive Care QIC and the Northern New England Cardiovascular Disease Study Group, and the shorter-term Breakthrough Series QICs of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI).

Results: The modified QIC assessment tool was a useful framework for QIC assessment and comparison. The MEPI differed in scope of topic, team members, and the method for learning about and making improvements.

Conclusions: Long-term QIC methods such as those used by MEPI may be particularly applicable when QICs address broad, complex, comprehensive, or organizationwide improvement needs.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2007

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  • Published monthly, The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety is a peer-reviewed publication dedicated to providing health professionals with the information they need to promote the quality and safety of health care. The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety invites original manuscripts on the development, adaptation, and/or implementation of innovative thinking, strategies, and practices in improving quality and safety in health care. Case studies, program or project reports, reports of new methodologies or new applications of methodologies, research studies on the effectiveness of improvement interventions, and commentaries on issues and practices are all considered.

    David W. Baker, MD, MPH, FACP, executive vice president for the Division of Healthcare Quality Evaluation at The Joint Commission, is the inaugural editor-in-chief of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety.

    Also known as Joint Commission Journal on Quality Improvement and Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Safety
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