Quality Corner: UVA Children’s Hospital Once Again a Best Children’s Hospital

September 1, 2015 by

By Michael Ellwood

The University of Virginia Children’s Hospital was again recognized as a leading center for pediatric care in the 2015-2016 U.S. News & World Report “Best Children’s Hospitals” report released June 9. The national rankings have been led by the Divisions of Neonatology and Respiratory Medicine in the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Urology in the Urology Department and the Division of Pediatric Orthopaedics in the Orthopaedic Surgery Department. The Division of Neonatology has been ranked as a Top 50 program for two consecutive years, an achievement matched by only forty Neonatology programs in the nation. They were joined in the rankings this year by the first national ranking for the Division of Pediatric Respiratory Medicine.

The four ranked specialties are:

  • Pulmonology – 37th
  • Urology – 41st
  • Orthopedics – 47th
  • Neonatology – 50th

The ninth annual Best Children’s Hospitals rankings highlight the top 50 U.S. hospitals in each of 10 pediatric specialties: cancer, cardiology & heart surgery, diabetes & endocrinology, gastroenterology & GI surgery, neonatology, nephrology, neurology & neurosurgery, orthopedics, pulmonology, and urology. The rankings are intended to help guide families of children with complex, rare or life-threatening conditions to the best pediatric medical care available. In the 2015-16 rankings, 83 of the 184 surveyed hospitals were ranked in one or more specialties.

The U.S. News & World Report Best Children’s Hospital rankings program is the only comprehensive source of quality-related information on U.S. pediatric centers. Children’s hospitals are evaluated upon data submitted on the general pediatric hospital and on each of the ten focus specialties. Evaluation criteria are divided among three categories. Structure assesses available physician, nursing and technology resources, family centered services, quality and research activities and patient volume. Process looks at efforts to prevent infection, adoption of specialty-specific best practices and reputation among pediatric specialist physicians. Outcomes measures infection rates, adverse events, patient survival and chronic disease management.

Recognition as a Best Children’s Hospital is important as it shows the children and families of Virginia that they can receive the highest level of pediatric specialty care here at the UVa Children’s Hospital and not leave the state for care. A commitment to family-centered, multidisciplinary care earned the Children’s Hospital more national rankings than any other hospital in Virginia.

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) was recognized due, in part, to its success in reducing unintended extubations and preventing breast milk administration errors. Although these metrics were new additions to the Pediatric Hospital Survey, the UVa NICU identified these issues as priorities a few years ago and made steady progress through team commitment to continuous quality improvement.

The Respiratory Medicine Division performed strongly in several areas that helped it earn national ranking. Management of cystic fibrosis patients, as measured by adherence to and achieving Cystic Fibrosis Foundation guidelines, allowed UVa to stand out among pediatric pulmonary programs. The Best Children’s Hospitals rankings also recognized the division’s participation in a number of clinical research and quality improvement networks.

The Division of Pediatric Urology, in its second year in the rankings, achieved recognition through a strong commitment to best practices, prevention of surgical complications and readmissions, and responsiveness to urologic surgical emergencies.

The Division of Pediatric Orthopaedics achieved its first Best Children’s Hospital recognition through strong performance in treating emergent patients with supracondylar fractures and femoral shaft fractures as well as preventing surgical complications and readmissions.

All physicians, nurses and staff of the UVa Children’s Hospital should feel honored by being named a US News & World Report Best Children’s Hospital. Although individual specialties are ranked, the program is an assessment of the quality, skill and caring of the entire Children’s Hospital. The ongoing successes of the Battle Building clinics in improving coordination and accessibility, of Be Safe in preventing harm, and of multiple patient and family centered initiatives in supporting and engaging will achieve growing national recognition for the UVa Children’s Hospital.

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