Children's National Health System teams up with Cerner on quality measure dashboards to transform pediatric care

Big screens in every hospital unit show quality and safety indicators for doctors, nurses, patients and family members. Children’s has reduced urinary tract infections while improving medication safety and time to treatment.
By Bernie Monegain
11:41 AM

Children’s National Health System and EHR vendor Cerner jointly created a visual dashboard that has improved multiple quality measures at the Washington D.C. hospital.

Dubbed the “Quality Board,” the 52-inch dashboards display real-time quality and safety indicators in every unit of the hospital. Children’s CMIO and CIO Brian Jacobs, MD said the information those dashboards provide is “actionable on the part of the nurses or doctors.”

Nurse can do two simple things to significantly reduce the rate ventilator-associated pneumonia, or VAP, Jacobs said: elevate the head of the patient’s bed and swab the mouth every day with a dental rinse.

If that routine has not been done, the board displays a big red X in front of that patient’s name. The idea is to prompt a nurse or doctor, or a family member to ask why there is a red x on the Quality Board and what must be done to change it to a green checkmark?

“If you’re running that unit, you want to see a completely green board,” Jacobs explained. “You don’t want to see any red on it at all.”

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VAP is just one example. In the pediatric intensive care unit, the boards helped clinicians reduce the rate of urinary tract infection and the number of days patients had catheters in the bladder and the technology played a role in improving the safety around medications and medication reconciliation as well as time to treatment, Jacobs said.

The work began in 2013 when Children’s and Cerner joined forces to establish the Bear Institute to advance children’s healthcare through innovative information technology and collaboration. Today, the Bear Institute comprises some 160 IT professionals and Cerner associates embedded at Children’s National, according to Cerner's David Pierre, vice president and executive director of the Bear Institute

Children’s National and Cerner employees work together under one umbrella to manage all kinds of things, Jacobs noted, not only the innovation piece, but also network, telecom, storage, biomedical engineering, security, clinical informatics, and more.

“Anything that sort of plugs into the wall and produces or receives data is under the umbrella of the Bear Institute,” Jacobs said. “We’re very focused on information technology as the driver to organizational strategy.”

After implementing any solution, there are very robust models the team follows to track value that the solutions are driving across the organizations. Pierre cited many examples: mobile apps for patient and family engagement, mobile communication among nurses, physicians and other care providers, and also health and well-being initiatives.

“We build our information technology into the strategy of our organization,” Jacobs said. “We think of ourselves as a showcase for health information technology.”

Twitter: @Bernie_HITN
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