On May 3rd, 2013, the 3rd annual conference on "Advancing Quality Improvement Science for Children's Health Care Research," was held in conjunction with the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) meeting. The conference, sponsored by the Academic Pediatric Association (APA) and funded with assistance from AHRQ, followed two prior conferences and was successful in teaching both basic and advanced methods for QI research. All aspects of the day were highly rated by 182 attendees, as was a desire for similar future conferences (mean of 4.9 out of 5). The APA also formally recognized the critical need for future conferences at their 2013 Board meeting. Therefore, in response to PA-09-231 we propose to hold three additional annual one-day conferences on methods of quality improvement (QI) research. These will complement and promote AHRQ's core research and implementation activities, as applied to one of AHRQ's priority populations (children). They will disseminate state-of-the art research methods for evaluating QI interventions and, through this work, build capacity to improve the quality and effectiveness of pediatric health care. The proposed conferences will be planned and implemented by a committed and experienced group of nationally recognized QI researchers. The 2014 conference agenda has been developed and includes small group, active learning sessions on advanced QI research topics including: cluster randomized trials, stepped wedge designs, interrupted time series analysis, biostatistical methods (including advanced regression methods) in QI research;and the role of context in QI research. Based on 2013 conference evaluations, and consistent with the increasing numbers of junior faculty and trainees attending, we will increase the number of introductory breakout sessions including: evaluating QI interventions;QI research works-in-progress (where attendees receive feedback on ongoing projects);research applications of statistical process control;developing quality metrics for QI research;and issues regarding ethical oversight in QI research. Based on our success in 2013, we will again conduct a call for abstracts for poster sessions for the 2014 through 2016 conferences. Each year, an opening keynote talk and closing plenary panel will focus on topics of high value to attendees. We will promote attendance of at least 150 participants each year by linking the meeting to the annual PAS meeting and executing a well-planned strategy for publicity, leveraging our engagement with the APA, other professional organizations, health care delivery systems, quality improvement organizations, and research training directors. By continuing this annual conference for an additional 3 years we will build a critical mass of researchers and other stakeholders trained in, and committed to, the highest standards of quality improvement research to promote child health.
Although the importance of quality improvement (QI) for pediatric health care has been established, evidence on the effectiveness of specific pediatric QI interventions remains sparse. These conferences seek to disseminate and advance state-of-the-art research methods for QI research relevant to pediatric care, and facilitate networking and collaboration at the national level. The ultimate goal of these conferences is to further develop the science of pediatric QI research in support of improved child health and health care.