Measuring quality

Most companies place a high value on quality, defined in many industries as consistently delivering superior products or services at good value to customers. In the health care industry, we share these goals, but our mission at Akron Children’s Hospital means so much more. Our providers form personal bonds with the children they treat every day, and the decisions they make can have life-changing impacts on everyone involved.

That’s why our commitment to quality starts at the top. All of our work is ultimately focused on improving outcomes for children. To that end, we start every board of directors meeting with an update from our chief quality officer, who oversees our quality cabinet. The cabinet’s five steering committees direct our improvement efforts in key areas: safety, family-centered care and patient experience, accreditation, clinical effectiveness, and population health.

It can be challenging to manage the number and variety of quality programs underway within our system, but our board of directors, health care providers and employees are all in alignment on the importance of these initiatives. Collaboration is the cornerstone of our comprehensive approach and we have staff in every department charged with executing our improvement strategies.

Projects run the gamut of patient and employee safety programs — all intended to reduce and eliminate the potential for harm to our patients, employees, volunteers and visitors. These efforts also include providing a respectful and welcoming environment to every person who walks through our doors.

To see so many ongoing projects through, our board works with the quality cabinet to set priorities and ensure appropriate resources are available to all the committees and employees charged with implementing these activities.

Every department is involved in our continuous improvement efforts. A few examples of projects include increasing depression screening of adolescents in primary care practices, ensuring food trays meet nutritional needs and allergy restrictions, standardizing the discharge of babies and children into child protective services, reducing hospitalization rates for asthma patients, creating new surgical pathways to improve outcomes and reduce hospital stays, targeting injury prevention outreach to high-risk communities, and evaluating hospital facilities and grounds for slip, trip and fall hazards.

Our providers also participate on state and national quality committees to set standards of care in pediatric medicine, and they conduct research on a wide variety of safety-related clinical practices. These collaboratives enable the sharing of evidence-based best practices to promote quality care for children across the country and around the world.

There are many children and families who depend on us and we take our responsibility to care for them very seriously. At the end of the day, our success relies on everyone understanding the importance of their individual contribution, and the vital role they play, in helping us deliver the best care to our patients in a welcoming, family-friendly environment.

William Considine, CEO of Akron Children’s Hospital, has served as CEO at Akron Children’s Hospital since 1979. He has dedicated his career and personal life to improving pediatric care and the quality of life for children and families.