An effective continuous quality improvement (CQI) system consists of five “functional components” that must be addressed by the agency. Those five functional components are listed below and described in more detail in this section:
- Foundational administrative structure describes specific details an agency, whether State-administered, county-administered, or privatized, must take into consideration to ensure that its CQI system is applied consistently and functions effectively, has appropriate oversight, and that the process is being consistently administered as designed.
- Quality data collection details the importance of collecting accurate, complete, timely, and meaningful data from a variety of sources for use in assessing and improving practice and systems, and discusses ways to help ensure that data are accurate.
- Case record review data and process considers the agency's quality assurance (QA) case review process, including the qualifications of QA case reviewers, how to ensure inter-rater reliability, and how to deal with special challenges that may be encountered in the QA process itself.
- Analysis and dissemination of quality data discusses data-based decision making, qualifications of data analysts, differing levels of data analysis, and data dissemination.
- Feedback to stakeholders and decision-makers and adjustment of programs and processes explains the "feedback loops," or bi-directional communication, that must exist among everyone involved in the CQI process, including all levels of the agency, external stakeholders, consumers, and decision-makers. It also shows how States use data and information to drive organizational change, at varying levels, and improve child and family outcomes.
Quality assurance (QA) and CQI activities in States administered by State agencies should take place with consistency and quality statewide. This is also true for reviews in county-administered or privatized States, or any combination of types of administration. The results of QA case reviews, considered in conjunction with other CQI activities, will help ensure and sustain high quality services across the agency.
For more information about the five functional components of an effective CQI system, see Information Memorandum 12-07, published by the Children’s Bureau. It is available online at LINK.