iNICQ: Internet-Based Newborn Improvement Collaborative for Quality

In iNICQ Improving Critical Transitions, teams improve processes and practices to affect outcomes and experiences for infants and families.

Key Drivers

What is a Critical Transition?

A critical transition is any change to the site of care, status or plan of care, or care team.

In newborn care, these changes happen multiple times from birth to home, and frequently through each phase of care. Each transition can affect the outcome of the infant and experience of the family.

Teams participating in this collaborative will utilize the drivers of high-quality transitions to improve critical transitions within and between phases of care. The focus for 2022 will be on improving hand-offs within these transitions.

The focus in 2022 on improving hand-offs is a vital aspect of improving critical transitions across all phases of care.
Phases of Care

Critical Transitions in Phases of Care

Critical Transitions occur within and between phases of newborn care. Hand-offs are a vulnerable aspect of all of these transitions, occurring frequently throughout each day and across the entire NICU stay.

This collaborative presents the opportunity to impact the care of all infants and families entering a hospital, and the opportunity to include multidisciplinary colleagues from all departments involved in transitions in newborn care.

Achieving High Quality Transitions

Participating teams:

  • Review their VON data;
  • Identify opportunities to enhance processes and practices during critical transitions;
  • Apply structured quality improvement in partnership with families and colleagues at other centers;
  • Achieve measurable improvement in health outcomes, family experience, and local organizational priorities.

Twice per year VON Day Audits support center-level benchmarking and provide metrics to measure the improvement of the collaborative as a whole.

Additional Quality Circle benefits support QI education and training for all staff at participating centers, including a QI Foundations course and other resources specific to clinical topics in newborn care.


CLD outcomes

Improving Outcomes and ROI

More than 700 teams participating in VON QI for over 25 years have demonstrated remarkable improvements in clinical outcomes and substantial cost savings.

Teams apply structured and disciplined QI methodology to address processes and practices that cumulatively impact big dot outcome measures.

Teams implement evidence-based practices, establish QI fundamentals to improve practices and processes, and set the foundation for data-driven sustainability of improvement for the measures that matter to care teams, hospitals, and families.

About the Experience and Outcomes of VON QI

How can we affect health outcomes at your center?

iNICQ Improving Critical Transitions Features

The iNICQ improvement collaborative is a benefit of Quality Circle membership. Specific features of iNICQ include:

  • Interactive Handoffs Toolkit
  • Additional toolkit outlining key evidence, potentially better practices, and change ideas for critical transitions across phases of care
  • Community Forum and dedicated listserv to communicate with expert faculty and peers
  • Live webinar series
  • Support to implement Experience-Based Co-Design with families
  • Online classroom, including recorded webinars accessible any time for CE credit
  • VON Day Audits focused on hand-offs to provide baseline gap analysis and track progress over time
  • Funding opportunities through VON’s Take Action to Follow Through grant
  • Education for QI fundamentals for entire interdisciplinary team
  • Improvement stories from teams applying QI and EBCD methodologies to critical transitions
  • Dedicated event at VON’s Annual Quality Congress with peer-to-peer learning
  • Faculty review of improvement posters
  • Discounted registration for Annual Quality Congress
  • Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Part 4 credits for entire physician team
  • CME/CNE, for an unlimited number of team members

2022 Schedule

Introductory Webinar for VON Champions and Team Representatives

Measurement and Hand-offs

Standardization for Hand-offs

Engaging Families in Hand-offs

September 8 – September 11
Annual Quality Congress

Communication Best Practices for Hand-offs

Human Factors Considerations for Improved Hand-offs

*Two VON Day Audit periods will occur during the year.


We will be happy to address any questions you have about Quality Circle membership or the iNICQ Improving Critical Transitions collaborative.

iNICQ participation is included in Quality Circle membership

Cost and Enrollment

iNICQ participation is a benefit of Quality Circle Membership.

Quality Circle Annual Fee: Core membership + $7,500

Group and health system pricing is available.

Please contact Pam Ford, iNICQ Program Coordinator, with questions or for more information:

Interested in committing further for collaborative improvement in critical transitions? Enroll in the NICQ program and engage a team in iNICQ for no extra cost.