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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

UAB Identifies Improvement Priorities in Mother and Child Home Visiting

Dr. Julie K. Preskitt, assistant professor in the department of health care organization and policy at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and UAB colleagues recently described a methodology to identify continuous quality improvement (CQI) priorities for Alabama’s Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting program (funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration, or HRSA) from among the 40 required constructs associated with six program benchmarks: (1) to improve health and development; (2) to prevent child injuries, child abuse, neglect, or maltreatment, and to reduce emergency department visits; (3) to improve school readiness and achievement; (4) to reduce crime, including domestic violence; (5) to improve family economic self-sufficiency; and (6) to improve the coordination and referrals for other community resources and supports.

[Photo: Dr. Julie K. Preskitt]

The authors—including department researchers Dr. Peter M. Ginter, professor; Dr. Andrew C. Rucks, professor; and Dr. Martha Slay Wingate, associate professor; as well as Dr. Matt Fifolt, project director in the Evaluation and Assessment Unit within UAB’s Center for the Study of Community Health — discussed how the methodology provided consensus on system CQI quality measure priorities and described variation among the three service delivery models used within the state. Q-sort methodology was used by home visiting (HV) service delivery providers (home visitors) to prioritize HV quality measures for the overall state HV system as well as their service delivery model.

There was general consensus overall and among the service delivery models on CQI quality measure priorities, although some variation was observed. Measures associated with Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting benchmarks no. one and no. three were the highest ranked.

The Q-sort exercise allowed home visitors an opportunity to examine priorities within their service delivery model as well as for the overall First Teacher HV system. Participants engaged in meaningful discussions regarding how and why they selected specific quality measures and developed a greater awareness and understanding of a systems approach to HV within the state. The team concluded that the Q-sort methodology presented in this article can easily be replicated by other states to identify CQI priorities at the local and state levels and can be used effectively in states that employ a single HV service delivery model or those that implement multiple evidence-based models for HV service delivery.

“Identifying Continuous Quality Improvement Priorities in Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting” was published online in December 2014 in the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice.

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