Lab Matters Fall 2023 | Page 20


Transforming Newborn Screening through Continuous Quality Improvement

By Ashley Comer , senior specialist , Newborn Screening & Genetics
Illustrations of state QI project that were generated at the NewSTEPs CQI National Meeting .
Newborn screening ( NBS ) has been a cornerstone of public health for decades , ensuring early detection and intervention for infants with potential health conditions . As advancements continue to shape the field of NBS , the need for continuous quality improvement ( CQI ) becomes increasingly important . The APHL Newborn Screening Technical assistance and Evaluation Program ( NewSTEPs ) led a successful CQI initiative , empowering NBS programs throughout the United States and Puerto Rico to enhance their processes and ultimately improve outcomes for newborns .
60 Years of Newborn Screening
This year marks 60 years of newborn screening . What began as one screen for Phenylketonuria ( PKU ), now has evolved to include screenings for an expanding panel of conditions , advanced technologies and complex systems . However , with growth and innovation comes the need for continual improvement . Recognizing this , NewSTEPs embarked on a journey to foster CQI culture within NBS programs .
Newborn Screening Quality Improvement Projects Collaborative
Thanks to funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration ( HRSA ), NewSTEPs initiated a CQI program that supported the Quality Improvement ( QI ) Projects Collaborative . Starting in 2019 , this collaborative brought together 34 NBS QI project teams to participate in several CQI training opportunities over a five-year period . Each team identified individual project aims and metrics and applied CQI methods . Through webinars , discussion groups , coaching calls and national NewSTEPs CQI meetings , the QI Projects Collaborative encouraged NBS QI project teams to enhance their understanding and application of CQI science . By adopting CQI methodologies , these teams were better equipped to identify and address areas for improvement within their NBS processes and systems .
Plan , Do , Study , Act
The application of CQI led to impressive improvements . NBS programs participating in the QI Projects Collaborative reported enhanced efficiencies , reduced turnaround times and increased accuracy in screening test results . During the 2023 NewSTEPs CQI National Meeting , the QI Projects
18 LAB MATTERS Fall 2023
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