Stories about: Quality & Safety

Do hospital rankings matter?

Sree Bhagwat in the lobby of Boston Children's Hospital.
Bhagwat in the lobby of Boston Children’s Hospital

Everyone who works in health care is familiar with U.S. News and World Report’s annual Best Hospitals rankings. But the methods behind the numbers can seem complex and mysterious, even secretive. What do rankings really tell us about the quality of health care at various institutions? Are they even helpful? Do they impact care?

Sree Bhagwat, a senior marketing analyst at Boston Children’s Hospital who manages the hospital’s data collection and reporting to U.S. News, says “yes.”

“It’s not just about competition,” says Bhagwat. “It’s about improving the standards of health care everywhere. The rankings process reveals important metrics that can drive improvements in national health care. Data points are driven by expert clinicians who serve on the numerous U.S. News committees.”

…Read More

Nursing and patient experience: Six lessons learned after 42 years

Susan Shaw offers words of wisdom after 42 years of caring for children and families.

Recently retired as Vice President, Associate Chief of Nursing and Director of Clinical Operations at Boston Children’s Hospital, Susan Shaw discusses the power of patient experience and shares lessons learned from her 42-year career working with children and families. …Read More

Medication adherence: Lessons from kids with chronic conditions

medication adherenceThe American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least five days per week.

The American Dental Association promotes flossing every day.

The Food and Drug Administration’s 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans advises we consume less than 10 percent of our calories from added sugars, and also less than 10 percent from saturated fats.

How many of us actually do what we’re told, though?

The Center for Disease Control estimates that 80 percent of American adults do not follow the exercise recommendation, and a survey by a dental association found that 60 percent of adults do not follow the flossing guidelines. With almost two thirds of Americans now overweight, our collective commitment to those pesky dietary guidelines falls short as well. As a group, it seems we are not very good at following doctors’ orders. …Read More

Collaborating with parents to improve patient care: lessons from a cardiac sedation nurse

collaborating with parents for pediatric health care

Anyone who’s a regular at a coffee shop can relate to this scene: you walk in, and the barista behind the counter notices you.  She waves, says your name, and you wave back.  By the time you get to the cash register, she’s already handing you your order — just the way you like it.

If your local coffee shop can prepare for your specific preferences, why can’t your health care team?

Often, the kinds of information not typically captured in a medical record are crucial to a patient’s experience. For example, if a child sucks his right thumb, his mother may tell the sedation nurse try to inserting the IV in his left arm first.  If a baby girl isn’t calmed by music but is mesmerized by a spinning toy, her father may want that toy in the room whenever she’s having an echocardiogram, so she sits still and the images are easier to interpret.

“Patients with chronic conditions return quite frequently to the same clinic for follow-up care and tests, and they shouldn’t have to repeat the same information each time,” says Brenda Brawn, RN, BSN, CCRN. “It’s not extraneous information; it can and should be incorporated into their plan of care.”

Brawn has been piloting a way to address this need in her work as a cardiac sedation nurse caring for pediatric heart transplant patients.

…Read More