Quality improvement in pediatrics: past, present, and future.
Almost two decades ago, the landmark report "To Err is Human" compelled healthcare to address the large numbers of hospitalized patients experiencing preventable harm. Concurrently, it became clear that the rapidly rising cost of healthcare would be unsustainable in the long-term. As a result, quality improvement methodologies initially rooted in other high-reliability industries have become a primary focus of healthcare. Multiple pediatric studies demonstrate remarkable quality and safety improvements in several domains including handoffs, catheter-associated blood stream infections, and other serious safety events. While both quality improvement and research are data-driven processes, significant differences exist between the two. Research utilizes a hypothesis driven approach to obtain new knowledge while quality improvement often incorporates a cyclic approach to translate existing knowledge into clinical practice. Recent publications have provided guidelines and methods for effectively reporting quality and safety work and improvement implementations. This review examines not only how quality improvement in pediatrics has led to improved outcomes, but also looks to the future of quality improvement in healthcare with focus on education and collaboration to ensure best practice approaches to caring for children.
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