Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a multisystem, life-shortening genetic disease that requires complex care. To facilitate this expert, multidisciplinary care, the CF Foundation established a Care Center Network and accredited the first care centres in 1961. This model of care brings together physicians and specialists from other disciplines to provide care, facilitate basic and clinical research, and educate the next generation of providers. Although the Care Center Network has been invaluable in achieving substantial gains in survival and quality of life, additional opportunities for improvements in CF care exist. In 1999, analysis of data from the CF Foundation's Patient Registry detected variation in care practices and outcomes across centres, identifying opportunities for improvement. In 2002, the CF Foundation launched a comprehensive quality improvement (QI) initiative to enhance care by assembling national experts to develop a strategic plan to disseminate QI training and processes throughout the Care Center Network. The QI strategies included developing leadership (nationally and within each care centre), identifying best CF care practices, and incorporating people with CF and their families into improvement efforts. The goal was to improve the care for every person with CF in the USA. Multiple tactics were undertaken to implement the strategic plan and disseminate QI training and tools throughout the Care Center Network. In addition, strategies to foster collaboration between care centre staff and individuals with CF and their families became a cornerstone of QI efforts. Today it is clear that the application of QI principles within the CF Care Center Network has improved adherence to clinical guidelines and achievement of important health outcomes.
Keywords: Chronic disease management; Healthcare quality improvement; Paediatrics; Patient-centred care.