What does an engagement campaign have to do with a healthcare quality improvement network? ImproveCareNow leaders were wondering the exact same thing before we began learning from our friends at 270 Strategies (experts in both political and issue campaigns!) Their team is teaching us how to apply successful campaign strategies to engage a large and diverse community of people in helping kids with IBD get better, now. Quite simply, ImproveCareNow invites clinicians, parents, patients, researchers, and others to learn about our work and to lend their time, talents, and expertise so together we can learn and find innovative new ways to outsmart IBD. And right now we’re learning how to make it easy for everyone to connect with ImproveCareNow in the ways that work best for them and ensure we can harness and value each person’s unique and generous contributions - making it meaningful and rewarding to be a part of our community.

ICN is made up of many faces. This slide shows a just a few of them.In ImproveCareNow we always start with a small test. To that end six of our centers are diving in as campaign pilot centers. Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Children’s Mercy Hospital, Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Levine Children’s Hospital, and the University of Michigan CS Mott Children’s Hospital are getting some training, rolling up their sleeves, and re-framing what an ICN IBD team looks and feels like. You will hear more about their journeys in the coming months as they build momentum and start sharing what they have learned with the rest of the community. In the meantime, we wanted to highlight some of the work underway in the early days of the campaign so that you can begin to learn with us now:

Snowflakes and ImproveCareNow

Campaign pilot centers are beginning to reframe their ICN teams with the “snowflake model” in mind. The snowflake model is a way of organizing people that decentralizes leadership and increases two-way communication. Basically it makes it easier for everyone to share the work and contribute to the success. These centers have found that creating a snowflake does not necessarily mean more work for the existing team, rather, it often involves reassigning people in ways that make it easier to get existing work done more efficiently.

This slide shows a diagram of what a snowflake staffing model would look like at an ICN Care Center.

“Hard ask?” – that sounds hard!

As part of their training, the participating centers are learning that it’s OK to be really direct about what they need from potential partners. It is lot easier to say no when the ask is soft and non-specific. So rather than saying “Umm…I was thinking maybe you could help us out somehow in the next few months,” they are looking for ways to be very concrete when asking for help, “Please come to our QI meeting next Tuesday. We really need your input on our new diagnosis process.” Coordinator Cori Davis tweeted about her first hard ask. The answer was YES!

Everyone’s story matters, and is important, and can change someone else's story.

More than ever, we are seeing how stories are key to helping potential partners understand what ImproveCareNow is all about and how they can fill important gaps in the community. Our Spring Community Conference is just around the corner and we are seeing some inspiring stories as part of the pre-work, stories that make very clear just how much our Network attracts those who want to join in and become a part of our success.

Elizabeth Monti shares her ICN story.

What this means to patients and families.

We know that growing our community will only make us stronger…indeed, the theme of our Spring Community Conference is “Strength in Our Numbers”! In her beautifully written LOOP post ‘Breaking a Promise’ Sami Kennedy really drove this point home. She reminded us why being part of ImproveCareNow is important and empowering for individuals, just as it is important to the whole community. As she says, “I have been welcomed into an environment where I am encouraged to not only sit at the table, but also to stand up and address the whole room.” Sami and Jennie

Meanwhile, we still have a lot to learn.

As the campaign unfolds, the ImproveCareNow leadership team knows it has an enormous responsibility to continue to ensure the network’s success, and to help develop a system that offers tools and opportunities for co-producing health and real partnerships. And we will be the first to admit, we have a lot to learn! We need your input as we go. We want to have open, transparent discussions about the challenges and opportunities ahead so we hope to engage more of you on twitter and other social media venues to take part in an ongoing dialogue between Community Conferences and webinars. You can follow @myers3411, @michaelseid11, @PeterAMargolis, and @improvecarenow on twitter and weigh in with your feedback and concerns as we build a bigger, better community together.

Sarah Myers tweets about the work of co-producing the conference agenda for the Spring 2015 Community Conference (#ICNCC15S)

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