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Ohio Children’s Hospitals Join to Improve Patient Safety

PHOTO:Itís National Patient Safety Awareness Week, and childrenís hospitals in the Buckeye State are working together to improve patient safety. Photo credit: morgue file.
PHOTO:Itís National Patient Safety Awareness Week, and childrenís hospitals in the Buckeye State are working together to improve patient safety. Photo credit: morgue file.
March 4, 2014

CINCINNATI, Ohio - Efforts are ramping up in Ohio to build a "culture of safety" within hospitals, particularly pediatric facilities. Several years ago, children's hospitals in Ohio formed a network to share data and best practices in order to reduce harm to patients.

Physician Steve Muething, vice president for safety, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, said it has expanded and is now up to 78 children's hospitals across the country. He said it has really changed the face of children's hospitals.

"It is incredible when you hear these very busy people who are running very large hospitals stop what they are doing and get together to discuss how they can work together to improve safety. It's an incredible thing that's happening, and it all started right here in Ohio," he said.

By the end of the year, the Children's Hospitals' Solutions for Patient Safety network aims to achieve a 40 percent reduction in certain hospital-acquired conditions and a 25 percent reduction in serious safety events.

Muething said increasing patient safety takes the combined efforts of hospital administration, health care providers, patients and their families. Parents should be advocates for their child, and should share information and ask questions, he explained.

"Families can really help by pointing out to care providers things they feel might not quite look right. Together, if we do it all right, it really decreases the chances of kids experiencing errors or harm while in the hospital, or even picking up infections while they're here with us," he said.

Hand washing is an important step that can reduce infections while a child is in the hospital. Muething said parents should make sure both they and the medical team scrub up. Another important aspect of safety is understanding medications, he said.

"The hospitals, the physicians need to make sure we really make the prescriptions clear and correct for that child," Muething said, "and the families need to really make sure they know what's being asked of them, because sometimes the doses need to be incredibly precise."

This is National Patient Safety Awareness Week, and the Solutions for Patient Safety network has more information about safety online at www.solutionsforpatientsafety.org.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH