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The Importance of Quality Improvement

Coverage from the 2009 North American CF Conference

October 27, 2009

An ongoing theme throughout the 23rd annual North American CF Conference was how care centers are implementing quality improvement to better the lives of people with CF.

In 2002, the CF Foundation launched its Quality Improvement Initiative in order to standardize and improve care at its network of accredited care centers. By using quality improvement, care centers implement proven best practices, ensuring longer, healthier lives and better quality of life for people with CF.

“Quality improvement is the adaptation of business models to standardize healthcare,” said LaCrecia Britton, R.N., CF care center coordinator at the Children’s Hospital of Alabama. “It’s a way to standardize and improve everything that we do in the clinic so that we do things consistently with each patient. This helps improve health outcomes for people with CF.”

Two important measures of quality care in CF are nutrition and lung function. Nutrition is measured by body mass index (BMI) and lung function is measured by the amount of air expelled in a single second, or forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1). The higher the BMI percentile and the higher the FEV1 score, the better.

Nutrition and lung function have improved significantly at care centers across the country that have been involved in the Foundation’s Quality Improvement Initiative.

A valuable tool in quality improvement is the Foundation’s Patient Registry, which tracks the health of people with CF. “We use it to plan individual patient care and to plan our quality improvement projects,” explained Britton.

The registry allows caregivers, researchers and care centers to identify new health trends, recognize the most effective treatments and compare health outcomes across the country.

Hear more from LaCrecia Britton, R.N.