Children's Hospital Colorado

Preventing Hospital-Acquired Conditions (HAC) at Children’s Hospital Colorado

Children's Hospital Colorado is committed to excellence in caring for kids. Here is an overview of prevention measures for hospital-acquired conditions for our locations throughout the region.

What is a hospital-acquired condition (HAC)?

The term “hospital-acquired condition” (HAC) is used to describe complications of treatment that patients develop while under hospital care. Some examples of HACs are infections that occur in the blood stream or urinary tract when patients have devices in place, infections after surgery, falls, pressure ulcers, clots and complications of treatments with medications.  Many (but not all) of these conditions are preventable, which is why we at Children’s Hospital Colorado continuously work to reduce the risk of these complications harming our patients.

Why do we measure the occurrence of HACs?

At Children’s Colorado, we measure the number of HACs per month as part of our goal to prevent them whenever possible and track our success in reducing the occurrence. 
If a patient experiences a HAC, we have systems and processes in place to quickly identify and respond to the complication. This helps us treat the child as quickly and effectively as possible and identify ways to prevent the issue in the future.

HAC Rolling 12 Month Total

The graph shows the number of HACs in each individual month since January of 2013 (blue bars, relates to vertical axis on left) as well as a rolling total that is a sum of the prior 12 months (gray line, refers to right vertical axis). The lower the number, the better.

Over the past three years, we have seen a 20-30% reduction in the rate of these hospital acquired conditions, although our rate of improvement slowed in 2015.

How is Children’s Colorado preventing HACs?

  • Target Zero: Eliminating Preventable Harm - Children’s Colorado has a patient safety program called Target Zero: Eliminating Preventable Harm. This is a multi-year effort and includes many projects and approaches to improving patient safety in our hospitals and clinics.
  • Identify and prevent risks - Many of our patients have complicated diseases that put them at a higher risk for many common complications of care. Because of this, we identify their risks and put in place various prevention strategies to help prevent them.
  • Learn from the best - We are collaborating with almost 80 other children’s hospitals around the country to learn together how to eliminate preventable patient harm. Our nurses and physicians follow national standards and help develop new strategies and best practices to reduce risks both here and in other children’s hospitals.
  • Create a safe environment - Children's Colorado is committed to excellence in caring for kids. We work tirelessly to create a safe environment for our patients, and we’re always looking for new ways to improve safety at Children's Colorado.  
  • Involve patients and families - Patients and families play the central role in our health care teams and are involved in patient safety efforts in their own care and in many of the committees and teams working on continuously improving care at Children’s Colorado.

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See outcomes and data from our Breathing InstituteCenter for Cancer and Blood DisordersHeart Institute and Orthopedics Institute. We've also published our most recent patient satisfaction rates.