Objective: Six neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) that are members of the Vermont Oxford National Evidence-Based Quality Improvement Collaborative for Neonatology collaborated to reduce infection rates. There were 7 centers in the original focus group, but 1 center left the collaborative after 1 year. Nosocomial infection is a significant area for improvement in most NICUs.
Methods: Six NICUs participating in the Vermont Oxford Network made clinical changes to address 3 areas of consensus: handwashing, line management, and accuracy of diagnosis. The summary statements were widely communicated. Review of the literature, internal assessments, and benchmarking visits all contributed to ideas for change.
Results: The principle outcome was the incidence of coagulase-negative staphylococcus bacteremia. There was an observed reduction from 24.6% in 1997 to 16.4% in 2000.
Conclusions: The collaborative process for clinical quality improvement can result in effective practice changes.