At St. Jude, our partnership with patients and families helps create a culture of safety and quality. Every member of the care team is engaged in efforts to further improve patient safety and satisfaction. We also have a dedicated team at St. Jude that focuses entirely on maintaining and improving safety and quality for patients.
Our patient safety research team measures our safety culture every year using the AHRQ (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality) Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture. The survey asks St. Jude staff to tell us about teamwork, communication, staffing and other factors that influence the care we provide. This survey helps us find ways to improve and track our progress on these important elements of providing safe care for our patients.
Measuring Quality and Safety at St. Jude
During patient care, we track a wide variety of 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
- Ventilator-associated pneumonia
- 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 medications, blood and other fluids during treatment. It can also be used to draw blood for various tests.
While a central line is important for many St. Jude patients, it can also carry a risk of infection. When bacteria and other germs get in the line and enter the bloodstream, it causes an infection in the body.
Like other hospitals, St. Jude tracks the rate of central line infections by looking at the number of infections per 1000 days patients have had central lines in place. Tracking infection rates in intensive care units (ICU) is how 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.
We work hard to prevent central line infections. Our ICU often has a lower rate of central line infections than the national average in pediatric ICUs.
Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections
Sometimes patients, especially patients in the 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 often has lower rates of catheter-associated urinary tract infections in the ICU than the national average.
When patients need a machine called a ventilator to help them breathe, an infection called ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) can happen. St. Jude had no VAP infections between July 1, 2014 and December 31, 2015. In 2016, St. Jude had one VAP infection, which was lower than the national average.
Everyone at St. Jude works for patients and families to have the best possible experience. One way we try to understand what patients are experiencing is through a patient satisfaction survey. Based on what patients and families tell us, we track and improve our services all over the hospital. Between July 1, 2014 and December 31, 2016, our patient satisfaction levels ranged between 92.8% and 98.4%.
Working with Others
St. Jude participates with several national patient safety efforts. We submit patient safety data to The Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit that organizes quality and safety data for hospitals across the country. You can view St. Jude data on The Leapfrog Group website.
St. Jude is also a member of organizations working to improve patient safety in children’s hospitals across the United States and beyond. St. Jude is part of Children’s Hospitals Solutions for Patient Safety (SPS), a network of more than 100 children’s hospitals that learn from each other to ensure every child is safe in children’s hospitals. Our faculty and staff contribute to SPS through committees and presentations.
St. Jude is also a member of the Child Health Patient Safety Organization. St. Jude has joined other hospitals to share safety event information and experiences to help eliminate preventable harm.