OBJECTIVE:

Quality improvement collaboratives (QICs) can improve short-term outcomes, but few have examined their long-term results. This study evaluated the changes in treatment practices and outcomes associated with participation in multiple sequential QICs.

DESIGN AND METHODS:

This retrospective, 9-year, pre-post study of very low birth weight infants, we assessed treatment and outcomes from the 8 NICUs of the Reduce Lung Injury (ReLI) group of a QIC sponsored by the Vermont Oxford Network (VON). We analyzed data from 1998 (pre-ReLI), 2001 (last ReLI year), and 2006 (5 years after ReLI) by using univariate and multiple regression.

RESULTS:

A total of 4065 very low birth weight infants were treated in ReLI NICUs in 1998, 2001, and 2006. From 1998 to 2006, the ReLI group decreased delivery room intubation (70% vs 52%; adjusted odds ratio [aOR]: 0.2 [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.2–0.3]; P < .001), conventional ventilation (75% vs 62%; aOR: 0.3 [95% CI: 0.2–0.4]; P < .001), and postnatal steroids for BPD (35% vs 10%; aOR: 0.09 [95% CI: 0.07–0.1]; P < .001). They increased the use of nasal continuous positive airway pressure (57% vs 78%; aOR: 3.3 [95% CI: 2.7–3.9]; P < .001). BPD-free survival remained unchanged (68% vs 66%; aOR: 0.9 [95% CI: 0.7–1.1]; P = .16), the BPD rate increased (25% vs 29%; aOR: 1.3 [95% CI: 1.1–1.6]; P = .017), survival to discharge increased (90% vs 93%; aOR: 1.5 [95% CI: 1.1–2.2]; P < .001), and nosocomial infections decreased (18% vs 15%; aOR: 0.8 [95% CI: 0.6–0.99]; P = .045).

CONCLUSIONS:

Participation in VON–sponsored QICs was associated with sustained implementation of potentially better respiratory practices, increased survival, and reduced nosocomial infections. The BPD-free survival rate did not change, and the BPD rate increased. Implemented changes endured for at least 5 years after the QIC.

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