7 Powerful Tools to Improve Care

Vicky Ramirez

Consultant, USAID ASSIST Project/URC

After the “oohs” and “ahhs” at our Quarterly Review Meeting, we had to share our secret sauce for improving care. This multi-faceted list contains powerful resources being used right now to improve health care in 30 countries.

1. Improving Care of Mothers and Babies: A guide for improvement teams

Hot off the press, this guide is our top resource for improvement teams. Through a simple six-step approach, the guide describes the way through which health care providers and improvement teams can plan, test, implement, continuously assess, refine, and sustain interventions to improve care of mothers and babies. That’s not all. There’s two versions of the guide—one developed for use in Africa, and one for audiences in Asia.

2. Counseling Guide: Family planning, prenatal and postpartum counseling in the context of the Zika epidemic

(In Spanish)

In early 2016, the World Health Organization declared the Zika virus a global health emergency. In response to the epidemic, ASSIST developed this Spanish-language guide to support health care practitioners in Zika affected countries. The guide has adapted national and international counseling in the context of the epidemic. The multi-level guide contains a comprehensive Counseling Guide as well as three Zika job aids designed for: family planning, prenatal counseling, and postpartum counseling. The guide is already being used in Central and South America as part of the Zika epidemic response.

3. Gender: Six step approach to identify and close gender-related gaps 

Gender implications can be difficult to extract, but this guide, developed in three different languages and in multi-media formats, clarifies how gender can be analyzed and integrated into improvement activities. The Six Step Approach is available in English, Spanish, and French with accompanying videos in each language.

4. Improving Quality of Postpartum Family Planning in Low-Resource Settings

Postpartum Family Planning is one of the highest impact interventions to avoid increased risk of premature birth, low birth weight, fetal and neonatal death, and adverse maternal health outcomes. This framework was designed to help managers and care providers understand challenges and help them fill gaps using improvement methods.

5. Improving Quality in Healthcare

This document uses the experience from a hospital in India who used QI methods to provide better care to pregnant women. The guide enumerates each QI step and includes tools that health workers can use to identify and solve problems. 

6. Health Facility Guide for Assessing Treatment of Febrile Illness

Despite tremendous progress in eliminating malaria in the African region, malaria remains the leading cause of death from febrile illness for children under the age of five and for pregnant women. This simple 3-step guide, guides improvement teams through tools, tables, and matrices to properly assess and treat patients with high fever.

7. Cost-effectiveness of implementing the chronic care model for HIV care in Uganda

What if I told you that improving a patient’s adherence to antiretroviral therapy and increasing their CD4 counts costs less than a cup of coffee? While you’re sipping your coffee this morning, take a few minutes to read this journal article published in the International Journal of Quality in Health Care. It is, hands down, one of the best examples of a cost-effectiveness analysis. Through their analysis, the writers break down the costs of an improvement intervention to the results it produced. 

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