Children’s Hospital Initiatives

* Children’s Hospital and Clinics HBR Case 9-302-050, Does Children’s Hospital offer a safe environment for patients?

Children’s Hospital and Clinics, established in 1994 is a 270 bed hospital providing medical services in 6 facilities Provides medical services in 6 facilities throughout the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. Starting from May, 1999 since Julie Morath joined Children’s Hospital, the hospital had implemented multiple safety initiatives. Under leadership of Julie Morath, the Chief Operating Officer at Children and other executives had assembled a core team of influential people to lead the safety movement.

It crafted patient safety culture, in form of patient safety dialogs to educate staff, blameless reporting system, and disclosure policy. Developed infrastructure in form of patient safety steering committee to oversee safety initiatives and focused event studies. For example, the hospital implemented a medication administration project with safety action teams and good catch logs.

Children’s followed systematic approach to patient safety under strong leadership, gained support throughout the organization, actively involved employees at different level by creating focus groups, improved communication within the organization and got involved in efforts to increase patient-physician trust. But do all of these efforts make Children’s Hospital a safe environment for patients?

The answer to that is not clear at this point. There is no clear way to measure effectiveness of these programs. It does reflect that Children’s Hospital has an attitude towards learning from errors; not hiding them and that eventually may lead to decrease in such errors. More commonly, errors are caused by faulty systems, processes, and conditions that lead people to make mistakes or fail to prevent them. Children’s by addressing the issue at its core may have a better chance to fix it.

By having such system in place, they can improve patient-hospital trust that makes patients comfortable knowing that they will be communicated regarding any such errors. No hospital can ever become error free as” to err is human” but it is of paramount importance how those errors are being communicated to the patients and what hospital is learning from these errors and taking action to prevent them from happening

again. Those cumulative efforts may lead to a safer place in which the patients will find comfort, trust and safety.