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Quality and Patient Safety

At St. Jude, we work closely with you to provide safe and high-quality care for your child. 

Commitment to safety and quality

At St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, we work closely with patients and families to maintain the highest safety and quality standards throughout the hospital. We have a dedicated team focused on maintaining and improving safety and quality for patients.

Safety practices and training

Every member of your care team is devoted to providing safe care for your child. The St. Jude Quality and Patient Safety team sets this standard by:

  • Including patients in our work
  • Working to prevent harm
  • Sharing our knowledge with patient families, staff, and other health care providers

Learn more about how to prevent infection.

CORE Promise

Experts from across the hospital have developed the Safe and Sound CORE Promise. The goal of this program is to reduce pain and anxiety during medical procedures. This program applies to all patients in our clinics, inpatient units, other hospital areas, housing facilities, and those treated by St. Jude home health providers. 

Infection prevention and control

The Infection Prevention and Control team makes sure our patients, families, and staff are safe from infections. This includes prevention, tracking infection, and sharing information to keep clinical staff aware of where improvement is needed. 

Safe & Sound Academy

The Safe & Sound Academy is a program that teaches staff how they can work safer and smarter. Through this program, providers learn how to make small changes in the most impactful ways to improve the quality and safety of health care.   

Reporting a safety concern

St. Jude has an Electronic Event Reporting System (EERS) that allows staff to report safety concerns right away. Safety concerns can be related to patients, visitors, staff, or unsafe conditions. Our reporting system lets us correct issues quickly and track them over time. 

Patients and families who have safety concerns should share them with their care team or with the patient relations coordinator. Call the patient relations coordinator at 901-595-8383 or email

Working with other hospitals

St. Jude is part of Children’s Hospitals’ Solutions for Patient Safety (SPS). This is a network of more than 100 children’s hospitals that learn from each other to ensure every child is safe. Our dedicated faculty and staff contribute to SPS through serving on committees and giving presentations.

St. Jude is also a member of the Child Health Patient Safety Organization. This group connects St. Jude with other hospitals to share safety event information and insights. The goal is to prevent harm and enhance patient well-being.

Updates and achievements

St. Jude is recognized as the top performer on all of the sepsis improvement metrics among more than 60 participating children’s hospitals. This achievement is reflected in greatly reduced deaths due to sepsis and deaths among our patients.  


Safety and quality by the numbers

AHRQ Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture

Our patient safety research team measures our safety culture every other year using the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture. The survey asks St. Jude staff about teamwork, communication, staffing, and other factors. This survey helps us find ways to get even better and keep track of how safe our care is for our patients.

Measuring quality and safety at St. Jude

We track information such as infection rates and patient satisfaction. This helps us determine the quality and safety of our care and make improvements. Some of the key measures we look at are:

  • Central line infections
  • Catheter-associated urinary tract infections
  • Surgical site infections
  • Hand hygiene compliance
  • Patient satisfaction

Central line infections

Many patients at St. Jude need a special IV that is inserted into a large vein. This special IV is called a central line. It is used to deliver medicines, blood, and other fluids during treatment. It can also be used to draw blood for various tests.

A central line is important for many St. Jude patients. But it can also carry a risk of infection. If bacteria and other germs get in the line and enter the bloodstream, it can cause an infection in the body.

To ensure patient safety, St. Jude tracks the rate of central line infections by looking at the number of infections per 1,000 days patients have had central lines in place. The National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) tracks infection rates around the country. The NHSN is a part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

CLABSI chart for May

Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI)

Sometimes patients, especially patients in the intensive care unit (ICU), need a tube placed in their body to help them remove urine. This tube is called a catheter. When germs enter the body through the urinary catheter, it can cause infections. 

St. Jude consistently has lower rates of catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI) in the ICU than the national average. We make infection prevention a priority to ensure the well-being of our patients. 

CAUTI chart for  May

Surgical site infection

A surgical site infection (SSI) is a complication that can occur at the site of a surgical incision. It can pose risks such as longer hospital stays, extra surgeries, and, in some instances, could lead to death. SSIs can be caused by bacteria that enter the surgical wound through the skin, air, or surgical instruments.

To prevent SSIs, our medical team follows strict guidelines before, during, and after surgery. This involves:

  • Thoroughly cleansing the area before surgery
  • Giving antibiotics as needed 
  • Ensuring a sterile environment during the operation
  • Carefully monitoring for any signs of infection afterward

These measures safeguard our patients and promote healthy recovery.

SSI for May

Hand hygiene compliance

A big part of preventing infection is washing hands with soap and water or using hand sanitizer. These hand hygiene methods are our main method of protecting patients from bacteria, viruses, and fungi.

We ask staff, family members, and visitors to make sure their hands are clean before touching patients. We encourage everyone to help make sure we follow proper hand hygiene to protect our patients. 

Hand hygiene for May

Patient satisfaction

Everyone at St. Jude works to make sure that patients and families have the best possible experience. To better understand their experiences, we conduct a patient satisfaction survey. It includes a question about their overall quality of care. This survey helps us see how well we are doing and how happy patients and families are with our services.

We carefully listen to their feedback to improve our hospital. The survey results show our dedication to meeting and exceeding expectations for both inpatients and outpatients. Every 3 months, we measure responses to a question about overall quality of care. This measurement, known as the quarterly mean score, helps us see how well we are providing care.

inpatient satisfaction chart
outpatient satisfaction chart

Understanding our Charts

The control chart is a graph used to study how a process changes over time. Data are plotted in time order. 

A control chart has a central line for the average, an upper line for the upper control limit, and a lower line for the lower control limit. These lines are determined from historical data. 

By comparing current data to these lines, you can draw conclusions about whether the process variation is consistent (in control) or is unpredictable (out of control, affected by special causes of variation).

undestanding our charts, example chart

Learn more