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Bright Futures

Articles and Updates from Phoenix Children's

May 18, 2021, Augenstein, Julie A., MD
Quality Day More Important Than Ever
Quality Day More Important Than Ever

Each year, Phoenix Children’s hosts a Quality Day to further its mission to provide hope, healing, and the best health care for children and their families. Quality Day provides a platform to celebrate quality improvement successes and learn about new creative project ideas. The event engages institutional leaders in quality improvement projects, introduces new ideas for the future, promotes staff participation in quality initiatives and creates a venue for sharing outcomes.

This year, we will also celebrate the progress made by our health care professionals at Phoenix Children’s toward improving patient safety and outcomes during the ever-changing COVID-19 pandemic and the incredible initiatives we saw implemented to meet the evolving needs during an unprecedented time.

Why a focus on safety?

Medical errors and preventable harm in the health care setting is a serious public health concern. The World Health Organization continues to cite medical harm as a leading cause of death worldwide. Previous studies estimate that roughly 400,000 deaths occur each year in the United States because of errors or preventable harm, with many more preventable adverse events having a long-term impact on a patient’s physical and mental health. According to a recent publication from the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Errors still affect as many as one-third of all hospitalized children and an unknown number of children in ambulatory settings.”

Promoting a culture of quality and safety

At Phoenix Children’s, we truly belief that zero-harm is an achievable goal. Our organization strives to promote a culture of safety that encourages open reporting of adverse events, “near misses,” and risky situations, while remaining accountable when events do occur.

As the Medical Director of Quality and Safety, I evaluate each potential serious safety event or preventable harm with the same level of concern that I imagine the aviation industry views a plane crash. When harm occurs, we assemble a multidisciplinary team and perform a root cause analysis (RCA) to identify any factors that may have contributed to the outcome and then work to develop new strategies to prevent a similar adverse event from occurring again in the future. 

Our COVID-19 pandemic response

The COVID-19 pandemic created new and ever-changing challenges related to patient and provider safety. Phoenix Children’s quickly responded to the crisis by creating new systems to enable providers to continue delivering high quality care without compromising safety. The pandemic truly affected all aspects of health care operations and changed how health care was delivered throughout the country. At Phoenix Children’s, an internal COVID-19 Command Center was assembled to develop protocols and policies in accordance with the evolving CDC and state guidelines. In response to community needs, a COVID-19 Resource Center was also created for families and our information technology staff made national news for the rapid implementation of telemedicine visits. Phoenix Children’s quickly recognized telemedicine as an essential response to the pandemic and more than 6,000 telemedicine visits were provided in one week!

Quality Day is also very important to us because it’s a dedicated time to interact with hospital staff, residents and fellows, staff physicians, nurses, and allied health professionals, to learn about completed, ongoing, or new projects at Phoenix Children’s. It is opportunity to share new ideas as our staff is well-positioned to identify potential areas for improvement in patient safety, patient satisfaction, and efficiency and recognize possible solutions.

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