Florida’s NICUs Convene for Annual FPQC Neonatal-Focused Meeting


On September 30, 2014, the Florida Perinatal Quality Collaborative held its Annual Neonatal-Focused Meeting for Florida’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) teams. Over 60 neonatologists, nurses, administrators, and state government representatives attended this free gathering in Tampa, FL. These attendees traveled to the University of South Florida from all over the state, representing northern, central and southern Florida.

Ghasi Phillips-Bell, ScD, MS, a CDC MCH epidemiologist assignee with the Florida Department of Health, presented an epidemiological investigation of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome in selected hospitals in Florida. This study provided detailed information on infants with NAS and data collection limitations, and led to a discussion of mandatory screening. Maya Balakrishnan, MD, provided an update on the Golden Hour Delivery Room Management initiative. Golden Hour hospital data show that efforts are affecting the care of a significant number of very low birth weight babies delivered in Florida, and that there is always room for improvement. Douglas Hardy, MD, presented a follow-up on the Neonatal Catheter Associated Blood Stream Infections (NCABSI) project and led a discussion with the group on reviewing infection rates and creating real culture change in their NICUs.

FPQC Neonatal Meeting 2014

The meeting also provided an opportunity for the neonatal group to explore possible future quality improvementprojects for Florida. Fauzia Shakeel, MD, presented an overview on nutrition and growth in low birth weight and premature babies and polled the participants on their hospital protocols. This session led to a group discussion on whether the group would be interested in a state-wide quality improvement initiative on this topic, and the scope and feasibility of the project. An interactive session focusing on each NICU’s Vermont Oxford Network (VON) data explored additional possible foci for quality improvement initiatives. Each center was able to list areas where they have had improvement and success, as well as areas where they still see a need for improvement.

Many centers reported doing well with necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) was noted both as a success for some and a major area for improvement for others. The same was true of intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) in the newborn. It was widely agreed that these were important areas for improvement in the quality of care.  By bringing all of the centers together for this exercise, centers with challenges in specific areas were able to connect with those that have made strides forward in those areas.

Indeed, collaboration, sharing, exchanging ideas, and networking were identified by participants as the greatest accomplishment of this meeting. Attendees were able to network during lunchtime round table sessions, where representatives from hospital teams offered to share information on their quality improvement projects. Round table topics included: improving use of human milk in the NICU, inpatient diagnostic hearing testing, using VON data in your hospital, getting a QI team started in your NICU, Golden Hour collection tools and strategies, and a collaborative medical approach to care and treatment of the NAS patient.

The day’s presentations can be found on the FPQC website under “Events: Infant Health Meetings” at FPQC.org.

The FPQC would like to thank all those who attended and contributed. Input from the state’s neonatal community has been extremely valuable in sustaining our current QI initiatives and determining our next steps in improving the health outcomes of Florida’s infants. If you did not attend and would like to become more involved with the FPQC, or to learn more, please email fpqc@health.usf.edu.