• Article
  • April 26, 2019

Children's Hospitals Focus on Taking Pediatric Quality to the Next Level

Taking stock of where we are and where we go from here.

By Amy Knight

Children's hospitals' commitment to quality is obvious. It is evident in mission and vision statements and noted as a priority in organizational values in acute care settings, across ambulatory networks and in communities. Quality matters to each child and family, to every clinician and employee, to the institution, and to our broader community of hospitals, payers and policymakers.

Improvement is a continuous goal, and children's hospitals are poised to make strides over the coming decade. And we have much to do. We will make progress in improving quality and move faster by working together and learning from each other.

Over the last 20 years, children's hospitals have built foundations to advance quality to the next generation. This includes patient and family engagement, data systems and interpretation, improvement methodologies, high reliability cultures and the willingness to collaborate—within an organization and across institutions. There are many hospital and subspecialty collaboratives, networks and initiatives incorporating these foundations today.

So, what takes us to the next level? Commitment to quality and continuous improvement requires children's hospitals to work individually and together to:

  • Take a broad view. Balance the work with a priority to improve across all domains of quality—patient-centered, effective, safe, timely, efficient and equitable care.
  • Leverage collaboration. Develop new models of working together to increase the pace and significance of change.
  • Rely on the evidence. Use evidence-based clinical pathways and protocols rooted in clinical effectiveness to standardize care.
  • Optimize data. Improve the use of data to understand variability and improvements in care and outcomes.
  • Bring it together. Create systems that integrate standardization, measurement and improvement methods.

Improving quality has ripple effects that create change in the patient and family experience, build a healthier, more engaged workforce and set the standards of practice that can help build policies and payment models.

We encourage you to join CHA and your colleagues in taking stock of where we are and where we will go as we write the next chapter of pediatric quality work. Our focus is twofold: the needs of your institution and the progress and work of the industry. The journey is ours to chart and we have great things to do!

Amy Knight is chief operating officer at Children's Hospital Association.

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