Children's Hospital Colorado

Preventing Hospital-Acquired Conditions 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
  • Complications of treatments with medications

Many – but not all – of these conditions are preventable, which is why we at Children’s Colorado continuously work to reduce the risk of these complications arising and potentially harming our patients.

Why do we measure the occurrence of HACs?

At Children’s Colorado, we measure the number of HACs that occur each month:

  • As part of our larger efforts to improve patient safety
  • To support us on our mission to provide the best healthcare outcomes for children
  • To give us the insights we need so we can prevent them whenever possible
  • To track our success in reducing their occurrence

If a patient experiences a HAC, we have systems and processes in place that allow us to quickly identify and respond to the complication. These formalized patient safety initiatives help us treat the patient as quickly and effectively as possible and to identify ways to prevent the issue in the future.

We're eliminating preventable harm and reducing HACs

A line graph of rolling 12-month total of all hospital-acquired condition events in 2017. There is a horizontal, yellow, dotted line showing the target for 2017 as 73. The blue line graph spans from January to December, showing that the rolling number of events have dropped by about 26.

The graph above shows a rolling total of hospital-acquired conditions. Each month shows the sum of the previous 12 months. The lower the number, the better.

Over this rolling 12-month period, we reduced the number of HACs from 83 (in January) to 57 (in December).

Dan Hyman, Chief Quality and Patient Safety Officer

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, trainings, programs and approaches all aimed at improving patient safety in our hospitals and clinics.

  • Identifying and preventing risks: Many of our patients have complicated conditions and diseases that put them at a higher risk for the common complications of care. Because of this, we identify their risks and put in place various prevention strategies to help lower their risk and prevent HACs and complications from happening.

  • Learning from the best: We are collaborating with more than 100 other children’s hospitals around the country so that together we can learn how to eliminate preventable patient harm. Our nurses and physicians follow national standards and help develop new strategies and best practices aimed at reducing risks to patients both here and in other children’s hospitals across the nation.

  • Creating 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 our hospital.

  • Involving patients and families: Patients and families play a central role in our healthcare teams; they’re educated on and involved in patient safety efforts related to their own care, empowering them to be their own advocates. Patients and their families are also important members of many of the committees and teams that are working on continuously improving care at Children’s Colorado.

See how our hospital and departments compare

As a top pediatric hospital, we’re not only dedicated to our patients and their families, but we’re also dedicated to transparency. We share this data so that parents know they’re getting high-quality, specialized care for their child when they’re in the hands of one of our 3,000+ pediatric experts.

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 experience rates, so you can see honest feedback from parents and patients about the care they receive.


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