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Dr. David Kowalczyck, left, fifth-year otolaryngology resident, works alongside Dr. Jeff Carron during a cochlear implant surgery.
Dr. David Kowalczyck, left, fifth-year otolaryngology resident, works alongside Dr. Jeff Carron during a cochlear implant surgery.
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Batson clinical quality results rank among best children’s hospitals

Published on Monday, July 23, 2018

Media Contact: Annie Oeth

Providing the best quality care is the mission of Children’s of Mississippi, and statistics are proving that goal is being reached. Batson Children’s Hospital is seeing results similar to or better than those of other pediatric hospitals around the country.

The quest for quality is not unlike seeing a reflection in the mirror, said Dr. Lisa Didion, Children’s of Mississippi’s associate chief medical officer.

“Quality improvement means taking a look at ourselves and holding ourselves accountable for our performance,” said Didion, associate professor of pediatrics. “We participate in multiple national databases on quality to help identify and prioritize opportunities for improvement when compared to our peers.”

Didion works closely with Kristin Dowdy, nurse manager for quality at Batson, crossing disciplines and showing how collaboration can improve outcomes.

“We’re looking at ourselves and being transparent,” Dowdy said. “What we do is team-based, with collaboration all the way to the patient’s bedside.”

Dr. Lisa Didion, left, Children’s of Mississippi’s associate chief medical officer, and Kristin Dowdy, nurse manager for quality, head quality improvement efforts at Batson Children's Hospital.
Dr. Lisa Didion, left, Children’s of Mississippi’s associate chief medical officer, and Kristin Dowdy, nurse manager for quality, head quality improvement efforts at Batson Children's Hospital.

Through participation in health engagement networks such as Solutions for Patient Safety (SPS), Vermont Oxford Network (VON) and Virtual Pediatric Systems (VPS), Children’s of Mississippi is improving quality and performance by comparing results at UMMC against those of other children’s hospitals.

For example, Children’s of Mississippi is performing well above the SPS network average in surgical site infections, pressure injuries and falls.

However, through their collaboration with SPS, Children’s of Mississippi was able to identify central line-associated bloodstream infections, CLABSI for short, as an opportunity for improvement.

“CLABSI was our first priority,” said Didion. “We did the simple things first: developed a multidisciplinary team to gain insight from all members of the health care team, standardized our central line care and educated everyone on this expectation of care.”

Children’s focus on CLABSI has become their “Chasing Zero” event. “Chasing Zero” is an initiative launched by the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s Chief Medical Officer’s office in March 2018 to engage faculty and staff in eliminating harm.

The effort is modeled after “Zero Patient Harm is Achievable,” a program championed by The Joint Commission, the nation’s leading accrediting body in health care.

Children’s is currently over 120 days since its last CLABSI, a feat which Didion and Dowdy attribute to the hard work of their CLABSI team.

The fourth and fifth floors of the children’s hospital haven’t had a CLABSI case in two years. 

Also included in the collaboration to improve quality and patient safety are patients’ families.

“A couple of years ago, we added patient- and family-centered rounding,” Didion said, “with the idea of rounding at the bedside  and including the families in the discussion around the patients’ care plans and goals.”

Children’s of Mississippi also has a patient and family council, FAST, an acronym for Family Advisory Support Team. FAST works as a support system and liaison group for families, and medical leaders listen to their input to improve the patient experience.

“Our most current project has been putting together a family resource handbook,” said Katie Puckett of Pearl, a FAST member. “This will help families by providing information about visiting hours, parking, free shuttles, food and coffee options, ATM locations and more.”

Children’s of Mississippi is one of the more than 220 member hospitals in the Children’s Hospital Association, a group that advances child health through innovations in quality, cost and delivery of care.

Giesecke
Giesecke

“Our Children’s of Mississippi team members have, over the past several years, been recognized for excellence by the Children’s Hospital Association,” said Guy Giesecke, CEO of Children’s of Mississippi, the umbrella organization for all UMMC-provided pediatric care, including at Batson. “Being honored by CHA is a significant achievement and something in which we take great pride.”

This year, the Center for Advancement of Youth team of Dr. David Elkin, Dr. Barbara Saunders and Veronnica Taylor has been selected to present during the Children’s Hospital Association Leadership Conference. Their proposal, “Creating a Coordinated, Cost-Effective System of Developmental and Behavioral Care,” will be part of a Power Session on Improving Access to Mental Health Services during the annual conference, to be held in San Antonio.

Also during the conference, neonatal intensive care unit nurse manager Tara McBride and Shelly Craft, nurse manager of the pediatric intensive care unit, will give a presentation on Rainbow Road, a program geared toward increasing employee retention and engagement.

These follow a 2017 presentation to CHA on Telehealth.

Earlier this year, the Children’s of Mississippi project, “Decreasing Blood Culture Contamination in a Children’s Hospital,” won semifinalist honors out of 110 entries from 60 children’s hospitals from around the country.

“Our efforts are putting us at the forefront of pediatric medicine,” said Dr. Mary Taylor, Suzan B. Thames Chair, professor and chair of pediatrics, “and it is exciting to share this knowledge with other hospitals around the country.”

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