iNICQ: Internet-Based Newborn Improvement Collaborative for Quality

About the QI Collaborative

VON’s Internet-based Newborn Improvement Collaborative for Quality (iNICQ) brings teams together to use local and collective data to guide improvement on a designated topic. Participating centers are supported with access to expert faculty, VON measurement and reporting, and an interactive online toolkit of evidence-based practices. Participation in the collaborative is a benefit of Quality Circle membership.

All Care is Brain Care: 2023-2026

Why Focus on Brain Care?

While we continue to improve neonatal survival rates, we cannot do so at the expense of or without a clear focus on our ability to safeguard the full potential of each infant.

All care we provide must consider an especially vulnerable and important organ: the developing brain.

By exploring evidence and implementing better practices, we can ensure that all care we provide benefits the brain.

All Care is Brain Care Program Structure

With the aim to prevent injury, protect normal maturation and development, and promote positive experiences and relationships, we support teams with:

  • potentially better practices/change ideas and clinical examples
  • measurement plans and reporting
  • foundational QI resources
  • consultation and collaboration with care experts and other teams

2023 Webinar Schedule

  • January: All Care is Brain Care – Project Initiation
  • February: Families as Neuroprotectors
  • April: Positioning and Handling and Protecting Skin
  • June: Teamwork and Culture Change
  • September: Acquired Brain Injuries
  • December: Equitable care throughout (FAIR) family-centered, anti-racist, individualized, rigorous

Why Approach Brain Care with VON?

More than 700 teams participating in VON QI for over 25 years have demonstrated remarkable improvements in clinical outcomes, substantial cost savings, and progress in addressing disparities and promoting family-centered care.

Improvement in VON collaboratives is data-driven (with audits conducted by VON), and based in evidence. Our approach to quality improvement encompasses the entire care team, including parents, and is based on foundational principles that teams have found effective in sustaining improvement.

VON QI Results

VON Collaboratives: iNICQ and NICQ

Teams participating in iNICQ and/or NICQ are part of the VON Quality Circle.

iNICQ: QI Collaborative bringing teams together to use local and collective data to guide improvement on a topic designated on a year-to-year basis.

NICQ: QI Collaborative in designated homerooms (8-10 centers) working on similar projects and collaborating on a focused area of improvement in two-year cycles.

health equity

Health Equity Innovation Grant

“Follow through” is a comprehensive approach to address health equity that begins before birth and continues into childhood. It involves health professionals, families, and communities as partners to meet the social as well as medical needs of infants and families.

The VON Quality Circle members are eligible for a competitive grant program to help teams develop tactics that will spread throughout our community of practice to “follow through” and address health equity.

Take Action to Follow Through Grant Information

How the Improvement Collaborative Works

Participating teams:

  • Review their VON data;
  • Identify opportunities to improve neuroprotective care;
  • Apply structured quality improvement in partnership with families and colleagues at other centers;
    • Custom interactive toolkits include evidence-based potentially better practices and change ideas (we consider practices potentially better because they must be tested and adapted to each center’s unique context)
    • VON Day Audits support center-level benchmarking and provide metrics to measure the improvement of the collaborative as a whole;
    • Webinars and regular communications support teams with education and examples that can be applied to their improvement focus;
  • Achieve measurable improvement in health outcomes, family experience, and local organizational priorities.

Improving Critical Transitions: 2018-2022

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 handoffs within these transitions.

The focus in 2022 on improving handoffs is a vital aspect of improving critical transitions across all phases of care.

iNICQ Features

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

  • Interactive topic-specific toolkit
  • Additional toolkits outlining key evidence, potentially better practices, and change ideas
    • Supplemental toolkits include: Improving outcomes for micropremature infants, Minimizing brain injury, Optimizing nutrition and minimizing NEC, Infants requiring surgery, and Minimizing lung injury
  • Topical Communities led by a Care Expert
  • 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 handoffs 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
  • Faculty review of improvement posters
  • Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Part 4 credits for entire physician team
  • CME/CNE, for an unlimited number of team members


We will be happy to address any questions you have about Quality Circle membership or the iNICQ collaborative. Please contact Pam Ford, iNICQ Program Coordinator:

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 “iNICQ: All Care is Brain Care”? Please let us know through this form and we’ll be in touch.

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.