Learning Collaboratives

Learning collaboratives are measurement-based, long-term (9–12 months) efforts that allow groups working toward the same goal to learn from and assist one another during implementation.

Characteristics
  • A 3-person practice team (usually a physician or nurse practitioner, nurse or medical assistant, and support staff or business manager) that leads the effort for the practice, attends learning sessions, and participates in monthly phone calls
  • Year-long (2–3 learning sessions) process that may include community partners
  • Ongoing technical assistance from expert facilitators, specifically site visits
  • Monthly data collection and phone calls
Benefits
  • Encourages practices to learn from one another and form strong relationships
  • Through evaluations, allows practices to see the improvement, set realistic goals, and adjust the implementation strategy
  • Through community partners, allows practices to form strong referral relationships
  • Can provide continuing medical education and nursing credits
  • Allows pediatricians to earn MOC credits
Drawbacks
  • Requires relatively small group of implementers; training would need to be repeated many times for change to disseminate across a large number of providers
  • Can be taxing on practices that are busy or have limited resources because it requires attending full-day meetings and participating in frequent technical assistance activities
  • Cannot be reimbursed for time investment of practice team and all practitioners and staff













 Maine's First STEPS Learning Initiative

Maine: Quality Counts has initiated First STEPS (Strengthening Together Early Prevention Services). The learning initiative is divided into three phases. The first phase focused on improving immunization rates; it began in September 2011 and ended April 2012 with 24 participating pediatric and family practices that serve a high volume of children insured by MaineCare (Medicaid). The second phase focused on improving developmental, autism, and lead screening rates for children younger than age 3; it began in May 2012 and ended in December 2012 with 12 pediatric and family practices, which included 45 physicians who serve an estimated 20,000 children with MaineCare coverage, participating. The third phase will focus on healthy weight and oral health. In each phase, the collaboratives typically last 8 months and include 2 full-day training conferences, monthly training Webinars, and data collection. Learn more