MUSC Children's Health Joins in National Move to Improve Patient Safety in Children's Hospitals

Contact: Heather Woolwine

March 9, 2017
CHARLESTON, SC – MUSC Children’s Health is participating in a first-of-its-kind effort by 110+ children’s hospitals across the country and Canada to improve patient safety called Solutions for Patient Safety (SPS). Leading the effort at MUSC is pediatric intensive care physician and associate professor Elizabeth Mack, who launched the same program at Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital in Columbia several years ago.

“MUSC Children’s Health joined SPS in January 2016, and we are continuing to escalate our involvement with gracious support from our CEO Dr. Patrick Cawley, our Chief Quality Officer Dr. Danielle Scheurer, Children’s Hospital leadership, and most importantly our bedside care team members,” Mack said. “Our project manager Peter Gardella plays an enormous role in this work as well. We are proud to announce that MUSC Children’s Health is hosting two SPS conferences this summer, and look forward to sharing those details with our community.”

Through transparent sharing of data, successes, and learnings, SPS and its member children’s hospitals are working to achieve specific goals to reduce harm in pediatric hospitals across the country and in Canada. According to the program’s website, the guiding principle of the program is to put aside competition and share safety successes and failures so that all children’s hospitals can achieve safety goals faster. Between 2012 and September 2016, the SPS Network has saved 6,944 children from serious harm and led to an estimated savings of more than $130 million. As hospitals and families continue to take the necessary steps to prevent serious harm, more children will be saved from harm.

SPS hospitals work through a series of network phases that allow hospitals to learn from peer institutions through an “all teach, all learn” approach, while developing and implementing effective prevention standards that will be made available to all children’s hospitals nationwide, including Canada. Hospitals are also employing the cultural transformation strategies of other high-reliability industries—such as nuclear engineering and naval aviation—to significantly reduce harm. Patient families are partners in this work, participating in the national steering committee that guides SPS’s efforts and at MUSC Children’s Health, in localized patient family committees. Mack, a self-described “doer and fixer,” said she loves leading the effort. “This puts safety, foremost, on everyone’s list. You have to remember the child’s story. How can you be complacent with harm that’s happening to children? You can’t.”

MUSC Children’s Health will begin its SPS work by analysis and process improvement regarding:

  • Antibiotic stewardship
  • Adverse drug events
  • Catheter-associated urinary tract infections
  • Catheter-associated bloodstream infections
  • Falls
  • Peripheral IV infiltrate & extravasation
  • Pressure injuries
  • Readmissions
  • Ventilator-associated events
  • Venous thromboembolism
  • Surgical site infections
  • Unplanned extubations

“I am so pleased at all the good work MUSC has done and is planning to do as part of SPS,” said Helen Haskell, South Carolina patient safety advocate and mother of Lewis Blackman, a teenage patient who died at MUSC in 2000 due to medical error. “I think this is one of the most effective patient safety programs in existence. I look forward to seeing great things come out of MUSC Children's Hospital as the work with SPS progresses.”

SPS began in Ohio in 2009 as a network of eight hospitals. It has now expanded to 110+ hospitals across the country and Canada, all focused on reducing harm by addressing specific hospital-acquired conditions and building a “culture of safety” within each hospital. SPS is the only effort in the nation, including Canada, focused on improving pediatric care and reducing associated Medicaid costs. SPS is funded in part by the Cardinal Health Foundation, Children’s Hospital Association and the federal Partnership for Patients program.

More information about the Children’s Hospitals’ Solutions for Patient Safety is available at Solutions for patient safety.

About MUSC Children’s Health
MUSC Children’s Health is a system of preventive and clinical care that delivers the most advanced, evidence-based health services to children from fetal stage and tiny newborns through the teen years. While the flagship MUSC Children’s Hospital is located in downtown Charleston, specialized pediatric care is now delivered through an expanding network of outreach locations, making children’s health care more convenient for families. MUSC Children’s Health is accessible across South Carolina at specialty clinics close to where community pediatricians treat their patients and through the state’s largest telehealth network. The telehealth network includes maternal-fetal care, tele-ICU, nutrition counseling, school-based care, and a number of evolving programs. To learn more about MUSC Children’s Health, visit musc kids.