Quality and Safety | Children's National Medical Center

Quality and Safety

Young male doctor lets infant boy grab his yellow stethoscope while dad watches.

At Children’s National Medical Center, we aim to provide safe, quality care to all of our patients. To us, quality means ensuring that we have the culture, structure and processes necessary to fulfill our mission.

How We Measure Quality

Children’s National measures and monitors quality to ensure that our patient care is:

  • Safe. We avoid injuries to patients from the care that is intended to help them
  • Effective. We provide care based on scientific knowledge to all who can benefit
  • Family-centered. We provide care that is respectful and responsive to family preferences, needs and values. We communicate openly with families, and actively involve them in their children’s care
  • Timely. We reduce waiting and delays for our patients and families
  • Efficient. We optimize the use of all equipment, supplies, ideas and energy while minimizing waste
  • Equitable. We provide care that does not vary in quality based upon gender, ethnicity or family income

Initiatives to Improve Quality

At Children’s National, we have implemented several programs that focus on continuously improving our quality and safety:

  • Electronic Medical Records

    Our teams are trained to record complete patient information in our electronic medical records, thereby reducing errors, misdiagnoses, patient safety issues and cost inefficiencies.

  • Medication Safety

    Our medication safety program incorporates excellent bedside clinical care with state-of-the-art computerized tools to ensure children receive the medications they need.

  • Vaccine Compliance

    To ensure the safest environment for our patients and staff, all Children’s National employees are required to receive a flu vaccine every year (with few exceptions for medical or religious reasons). In addition, staff members who work directly with patients have their DTaP (Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis) vaccine up to date.

  • Managing Agitated Behavior

    We are committed to creating an environment that is safe for patients, families and our staff. A primary driver of violent behavior in health care facilities is the increasing number of patients with behavioral health issues. Our aim is to provide care safely and effectively by focusing on employee and patient safety alike. We are strengthening education and competency for staff members, enhancing coordination for patients across the care continuum and modifying some hospital rooms to ensure we have the safest facilities possible. Addressing this issue is an important part of our role as advocates and care providers for children. 
  • Children’s Hospital Association Collaboratives 

    We collaborate with peer hospitals to learn improvement techniques, share strategies and challenge each other to improve quickly and sustain improvements throughout our organizations. 
  • Partnerships for Patients

    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services created a public-private partnership, called Partnerships for Patients, to improve the quality, safety and affordability of health care. Children’s National is part of the Children’s Hospitals’ Solutions for Patient Safety network, partnering with other children’s hospitals to share data and improve patient safety and quality.
  • Safety Event Reporting System

    We encourage employees to voluntarily report safety events through our Safety Event Reporting System with their concerns and observations, facilitating improvements. Through our efforts in this area, data are shared and used, staff are engaged and recognized for reporting, and reports resulted in positive changes. We have more than doubled the number of safety event submissions over the past three years, surpassing our goal.
  • Simulation Training

    Children’s National uses clinical simulation training to teach and improve teamwork and communication in critical care and ambulatory care clinics. The goal of this program is to improve safety in all facets of patient care.
  • Safety Culture Survey

    At Children's National, we conduct a survey on our safety culture every 18 to 24 months to gauge employee perceptions of our culture. We have trained leaders to interpret the results and create interventions, held feedback sessions to delve into what's behind survey responses, and implemented improvements at the department level to respond to issues raised in the survey.
  • Focus on Performance Improvement

    We prepare leaders and staff to participate in quality initiatives with:
    • Traditional classroom offerings
    • Project-based learning, where participants conduct a performance-improvement initiative
    • Webinars and web-based training

External Quality Measures

We make safety and quality an integral part of our approach to caring for children, and maintain the highest standards. We understand, though, that parents may want to know more and consider all options as they decide on care for their child.

We encourage you to review and compare reports on quality by the following organizations as part of your decision-making process.

  • National Committee for Quality Assurance

    The NCQA focuses on improving health care quality by developing quality standards and performance measures. The NCQA seal is a widely recognized symbol of quality.
  • Joint Commission

    The Joint Commission accredits and certifies more than 15,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. Joint Commission accreditation and certification is recognized nationwide as a symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s commitment to meeting certain performance standards. The Joint Commission produces Quality Check, a comprehensive guide to health care organizations in the United States.
  • Leapfrog Group

    The Leapfrog Group is a voluntary program that encourages transparency and easy access to health care information with the goal of improving healthcare safety, quality and customer value.
  • U.S. News & World Report

    U.S. News & World Report uses clinical and subjective analysis to rank pediatric hospitals.