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Developing More Effective Strategies for Interconception Care

The Interconception Care Learning Community (ICC LC) was a three-year quality improvement project in the Healthy Start Program that focused on care between pregnancies. ICC LC was funded by the Division of Healthy Start and Perinatal Services (DHSPS) of the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB).

The ICC LC project goals were to:
  • Advance the quality and efficacy of Healthy Start interconception care components;
  • Address identified gaps in the provision of interconception services in Healthy Start; and
  • Develop a toolkit to guide Healthy Start and other maternal and infant health programs with their interconception activities.
DHSPS used the Institute of Healthcare Improvement’s Learning Collaborative model of quality improvement. All Healthy Start grantees participated from 2008 to 2011 – a total of 99 grantees in 2008 and 104 in 2011.

The ICC LC had more teams participating in the Learning Community than any other quality improvement collaborative ever sponsored by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). It also was one of the most complex Learning Collaborative projects sponsored by the federal government in terms of the variety of quality improvement projects undertaken and the number of teams participating.

Abt Global provided technical assistance to more than 100 teams across 15 to 18 Learning Collaboratives, which used tools for web-based learning and remote participation. The approaches used included:
  • A closed-network website with resources, project materials, discussion forums, master list of all participants;
  • Three in-person, national all-team learning sessions for more than 550 individuals;
  • Webinars on topics such as using the website, reproductive life plans, healthy weight studies, and quality improvement measurement;
  • Organizing and facilitated 225 Learning Collaborative conference calls; and
  • Individual Healthy Start team consultation with contractor project team staff via telephone and email.
Findings from the project have been presented at several national conferences in 2010, including Academy Health, the American of Public Health Association, the Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs, Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology, plus the 2011 National Healthy Start Association Conference.
North America