Children's Hospital Colorado

Pediatric Intensive Care Quality and Patient Safety Outcomes

No one expects that their child will end up in the ICU. Our team is equipped to help patients and families traverse that journey, with the expertise, compassion and empathy that they need to heal.

In many ways, pediatric intensive care is the heart of our hospital, a hub that serves and drives outcomes for every specialty. Patients with acute disease and trauma, patients coming out of surgeries and organ transplants, complicated patients, unstable patients: the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Children's Hospital Colorado cares for them all.

PICU Outcomes.jpg

As a regional supercenter and the only Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center in a 350-mile radius, our PICU cares for some of the most acute, high-risk pediatric conditions in seven states. And our PICU team handles higher volumes while providing better outcomes and shorter stays than the national average — by a wide margin.

At Children's Colorado, we evaluate our success by comparing our PICU outcomes with other top pediatric hospitals. Transparency with our patients and colleagues is one of the keys to our success as one of the top children's hospitals in the U.S.

We measure a number of outcomes to ensure that we're providing the highest level of pediatric critical care for our patients. The following data is from Virtual Pediatric Systems, LLC (VPS) for 2016-2017 at the Anschutz Medical Campus.

PICU volumes

Children's Colorado is home to one of the busiest PICUs in the country, treating approximately 3,000 patients per year. In fact, our PICU treats roughly 30% more patients annually compared to the averages of our peer institutions. This means we have more experience treating patients with a wide variety of illnesses and injuries.

More patients than the national average

PICU Infographic Volumes

With clinical staffing to match our busy unit, each child receives the individual attention and constant monitoring they need.

PICU survival rates

Our dedication to providing exceptional care to every patient has allowed us to achieve PICU survival rates among the best in the country. Our overall patient survival rate is 98%, outperforming the national average.

Measured another way, mortality in our PICU is much lower than the national average. The following graph shows the standardized mortality ratio (SMR), or the predicted mortality given a patient's severity of illness, against the actual outcome. This means that even though our patients are sicker, they survive at a higher rate than expected.

Standardized Mortality Ratio (PRISM III)

PICU Infographic Mortality

Length of stay in the PICU

The standardized or severity-adjusted length-of-stay ratio (SLOSR) predicts length of stay based on the severity of the child's condition. Here, too, we are better than the national average.

This means that our patients are sicker than at other PICUs, but they leave our PICU sooner than expected.

Standardized LOS Ratio (PRISM III)

PICU Infographic LOS

Effective and efficient care in the PICU

When comparing mortality (SMR) and length of stay (SLOSR) against national averages, Children's Colorado is in the 95th percentile for both, meaning that we scored as well or better than 95% of similar institutions.

Standardized Mortality Ratio (PRISM III) versus Standardized LOS Ratio (PRISM III) plot across ICUs

PICU Infographic Axis

Plotted out with SMR on the y-axis and SLOSR on the x-axis, our PICU plots in the lower-left quadrant as measured against national averages.

"Our pediatric intensive care outcomes are a big part of the success of the entire institution. We're committed to continuously improving that care through quality improvement and research."
Todd Carpenter, MD

Learn more about how we care for children with critical illness in our PICU.