The U.S. National Health Security Strategy calls for the development and wide-spread implementation of quality improvement (QI) tools in public health emergency preparedness (PHEP), including the development of “learning collaboratives,” a structured way for organizations with common interests to close the gap between potential and practice by learning from each other. To test this approach, we developed and assessed separate learning collaboratives focused on PHEP emergency communications and on the use of Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) volunteers. Although participants carried out improvement projects that they felt were useful, each collaborative struggled to identify a common theme, participation was limited, and leadership buy-in was not strong. This suggests that the learning collaborative model may not be appropriate in this context. Because some of the factors that limited their success are inherent (the lack of an established evidence base and agreed upon outcome and performance measures and the difficulty of carrying out rapid Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycles and measuring the results), this suggests that the learning collaborative model may not be appropriate in this context.
Stoto MA, Cox H, Higdon M, Dunnell K, Goldmann D. Using Learning Collaboratives to Improve Public Health Emergency Preparedness Systems. Front Public Health Serv Syst Res