At St. Jude, our partnership with colleagues, patients, and families creates a culture of safety and quality. Every member of the care team is actively involved in making sure our patients have a safe and positive experience during their stay. We also have a dedicated team focused on maintaining and improving safety and quality for patients.
Our patient safety 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 that influence the care we provide. It 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
During patient care, we track a wide range of information, including infection rates and patient satisfaction, to assess 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
- Hand hygiene compliance
- Patient satisfaction
Central Line Infections
Many patients at St. Jude need a special IV (intravenous line or line going into a vein) that is called a central line. This special IV is inserted into a large vein to deliver medications, blood, and other fluids during treatment. It can also be used to draw blood for various tests. While central lines play an important role in patient care, they can also pose a risk of infection when bacteria or germs enter the bloodstream through the line.
To ensure patient safety, St. Jude closely tracks the rate of central line infections by looking at the number of infections per 1000 days patients have had central lines in place. This information is reported to the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN), a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which monitors infection and utilization rates across the country.
We work hard to prevent central line infections in all our patients.
Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections
Sometimes patients, especially patients in the ICU or undergoing surgery, need a tube placed in the bladder to help them remove urine. This tube is called a urinary or foley catheter. It is important to note that infections can occur if bacteria or germs enter the body through the urinary catheter.
At St. Jude, we consistently maintain lower rates of catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) in the ICU compared to the national average. Our ongoing efforts prioritize infection prevention to ensure the well-being of our patients.
Hand Hygiene Compliance
Our main concern is keeping our patients safe, and a big part of that is proper hand hygiene. Hand hygiene compliance is our primary method of protecting patients from bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Washing hands with soap and water or using alcohol gel to disinfect hands helps stop these harmful germs from reaching our patients.
In our commitment to patient safety, we kindly ask everyone, including our staff, visitors, and families, to make sure their hands are clean before touching patients. We encourage everyone in our health care community to collaborate in ensuring we follow proper hand hygiene, and we appreciate families reminding us if they notice we forget. With a goal nearing 100% compliance with our hand hygiene rules, we are creating a protective environment for our patients.
Everyone at St. Jude works for patients and families to have the best possible experience. To better understand their experiences, we conduct a patient satisfaction survey that includes a question about their overall quality of care. This question 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 patient expectations in both inpatient and outpatient settings. Every three months, we measure responses to the question about overall quality of care. This measurement, known as the quarterly mean score, helps us see how well we are providing the best care possible.
Working with Others
St. Jude actively participates in multiple national patient safety initiatives and collaborates with organizations working to improve patient safety in children’s hospitals both within the United States and internationally. As a key participant, St. Jude is a member of Children’s Hospitals Solutions for Patient Safety (SPS), a network of more than 100 children’s hospitals. Through mutual learning, these hospitals work together to ensure the safety of every child in their care. Our dedicated faculty and staff contribute to SPS through committee involvement and presentations.
St. Jude is also a member of the Child Health Patient Safety Organization. This affiliation connects St. Jude with other hospitals to share safety event information and insights, with the shared goal of preventing avoidable harm and enhancing patient well-being.
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).