Published December 15, 2015
Child Abuse & Neglect

The same quality improvement strategies that have improved hospital care can also optimize the effectiveness of home visiting programs.

The study, published Dec. 15, 2015, in Child Abuse & Neglect, examined curriculum planning, visitor training, continuous program improvements, and family progress monitoring initiatives. These efforts increased adherence with recommended well-child care goals from 58 percent at baseline to 85 percent after three years, according to study author Neera Goyal, MD, MSc, Every Child Succeeds team member and attending physician in the Division of Neonatology.

The study tracked quality improvement cycles conducted at three agencies involving 18 home visitors and 139 families with infants under 6 months. Every Child Succeeds then helped implement best practices in programs located in seven counties in southwestern Ohio and Northern Kentucky.

In addition to informing parents about nutrition, child development, and community resources, Every Child Succeeds urges that infants complete at least three well-child visits by age 6 months.

“The real impact is to demonstrate the importance of ongoing, structured quality improvement efforts,” Goyal says. “Quality improvement is a widely accepted strategy in healthcare settings, but not necessarily in the home visiting arena. This represents a helpful model that can be used by other home visiting programs."

The findings also address funding requirements in the Affordable Care Act and other, more stringent requirements for home visiting programs. The shared information flowing from these initiatives could represent “a new frontier of cooperation between home visiting programs and primary medical centers,” Goyal says.