The CJFHC is integral in providing information to its members in regard to new and /or current state and federal mandates. Examples of their role include interpretation and dissemination of information regarding these mandates, and education of staff, community partners and individuals. The Consortium also serves in an advocacy role in both legislative awareness and implementation. The Consortium facilitates the development of policies and procedures related to new and changing regulations. Through membership in the Consortium, MCH concerns and issues are voiced collectively, which creates a stronger voice on behalf of the women and children in our region.
Data and Quality Improvement
The Consortium coordinates a variety of state mandated activities related to MCH data collection. The primary database used is the electronic birth certificate (EBC). Consortium staff provide technical support to each of our member hospitals for the EBC. It is this data that we compile and analyze annually to publish the Continuous Quality Improvement and Data Report. This document guides much of the MCH related activity within our region. It is used for grant applications both internally and by our members, for our hospitals during magnet application, as well as for other program implementation. Data is examined throughout the year by the Multidisciplinary Review committee and the Continuous Quality Improvement committee. The information from the EBC provides outcome data and allows CJFHC, hospitals, and community agencies to assess the effectiveness of programs in the community as well as guide them for future planning purposes.
Promoting a Regionalized Standard of Care
The CJFHC promotes obstetric, neonatal, and pediatric standards of care by providing quality comprehensive education throughout the Consortium region. Standards of care are identified through professional assocations such as ACOG, AWHONN, and NANN among others. The identified standards of care are promoted via educational programs to all nursing staff as well as to obstetric and pediatric staff and other health care professionals. It is also promoted through transport agreements between agencies which are facilitated through CJFHC. Access to regional standards of care and evidenced based practice can reduce liability exposure to hospitals, agencies, and the individual practitioner.
Centralized Repository of Education
Networking opportunities are promoted for all OB and pediatric health care professionals through the Consortium's region-wide education programs. These education programs are provided in a variety of ways, including but not limited to grand rounds, unit based in-services, half-day and full-day conferences, and self study modules. Examples include: AWHONN Fetal Heart Monitoring courses, post partum depression education, and perinatal addictions screenings. Access to high quality educational opportunities at a local level encourages healthcare professionals to attend these programs because of the close proximity to their homes as well as the affordable cost of the programs. This is especially important since NJ nurses are required to complete 30 hours of education for licensure renewal. It also encourages staff to fulfill their requirements for certification in their individual specialties. By doing so they are more proficient in their area of expertise which enhances care and the quality of the staff, thereby reducing risk to patients'.
Cost Effectiveness of Educational Opportunities
Through regionalized educational programming, the cost of per-person rates is minimal. By leveraging resources, we are able to provide education addressing the most pertinent issues in MCH care.
Augmentation of Hospital Provided Education
While realizing hospital based education is limited today due to fiscal constraints, there is still a need at times for education to take place on site on a daily basis. Additional resources such as specialized equipment that can be used to augment educational programming available for use both on site at member organizations or at Consortium offices. This allows OB/Pediatric services to utilize their limited educational dollars on other activities. Consortium education programs can augment and reinforce knowledge and skills through existing hospital based programs.
Consortium programs are provided to a variety of healthcare practitioners. Joint physician/ nurse education is encouraged throughout Consortium programming to promote a team approach to care and to increase employee satisfaction. This increase in satisfaction may lead to a decrease in turnover of staff, ultimately reducing the financial burden inherent in high staff turn over. In addition, joint education amongst all healthcare professionals promotes risk reduction and decreases liability for hospitals.
There are a variety of community building activities that are performed by the CJFHC which enhance or increase resources available to women and their families in our region. One example is the coordination of MCH Coalitions in our high risk cities. In addition to traditional HM/HB Coalitions, MCH Coalitions have been formed at both the city level and county level in our region. These Coalitions help to support our hospital's missions by identifying community needs as well as addressing the needs of diverse populations. The Coalitions provide a mechanism to offer regionalized programs that support community health initiatives as well as effectively distribute available resources. The presence of the Consortium in the community through the Coalition exposes the community to a variety of staff, thereby increasing consumer trust and confidence in the organization as well as its members, i.e. hospitals. By being present in the community, and providing education and resources, we can help to ensure a healthier community which potentially can decrease the cost to hospitals, all while marketing other Consortium activities and/or hospital services.
Networking is one of the key benefits of Consortium membership. Sharing of best practices across hospital systems and among community members helps to enhance the quality of care delivered to our women and children. Provision of evidenced-based guidelines by individuals, and shared by the members, reinforces best practices. In addition, resource utilization is maximized by members through informal and formal communication facilitated by the Consortium. A variety of meetings are held to unite various stakeholders from our hospitals, community agencies, and the community at large. An example of this relates to JCAHO visit results, such as concerns regarding safety and compliance with standards, thereby helping to decrease risk region-wide.