Improving Outcomes In Kids With Inflammatory Bowel Disease

October 13, 2011


Texas Children’s Hospital is a big place and sometimes it’s hard to see the little things that drive our tremendous reputation. I had the opportunity to sit down with one of my partners, Dr. Seema Mehta from the Division of Gastroenterology, who is one of those drivers of excellence. Dr. Mehta is leading our participation in a national collaborative that’s looking to improve the outcomes of kids with inflammatory bowel disease (crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis).

What is Improve Care Now?

Improve Care Now (ICN) is a quality improvement initiative dedicated to improving the care for children with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Texas Children’s Hospital is one of 32 hospitals working together to collect treatment and outcome information on IBD patients. Information from all of these centers will be pooled and studied so that we can understand the best way to treat children with crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

What does this mean for a child with crohn’s disease being treated at Texas Children’s Hospital?

Children with crohn’s disease being cared for at Texas Children’s

Hospital are receiving exceptional care from dedicated healthcare providers who recognize that there is always room for improvement. By participating in ICN, pediatric gastroenterologists, nurses and staff at Texas Children’s Hospital are coming together with providers across the world to “steal shamelessly and share seamlessly” to make the best standard of care available for a child with crohn’s disease.

How did you get involved with ICN?

Dr. George Ferry, Director of the Texas Children’s Hospital IBD Center, in partnership with Texas Children’s Hospital chose to participate in the ICN Collaborative. Dr. Ferry presented me with the opportunity to lead the ICN initiative and, together with our ICN team, we’ve been working hard to improve care ever since.

Where do you see this headed?

I believe that ICN will serve as a model for improving the quality of care for all children and adults with chronic diseases. Our team just attended the fall workshop with representatives from all 32 participating pediatric institutions. At this session, ICN leadership shared a vision for our work through 2020. We celebrated 5 years of Improve Care Now. We were also joined by our patient’s families who provided key feedback and suggestions. The opportunity to work with these dedicated parents served as a wonderful reminder of the integral role families play in assuring quality healthcare for their children. The future success of Improve Care Now requires the contributions of many.

Why is quality important? Why do we hear so much about this now?

Quality is a measure of excellence. We seek quality in all of our daily activities; a good meal, a well-pressed shirt, a comfortable chair. For these things, quality is easy to see and to know. In healthcare, quality is more challenging to identify. All too often, it is the lack of quality that we see first. In 1999, the Institute of Medicine released a report entitled “To Err is Human” which detailed the devastating impact of preventable medical errors. This report and the countless that followed have brought critical attention to quality in healthcare.

Healthcare providers are well-intentioned and aim to provide the best care to their patients; however, the inherent flaws in systems sometimes do not support this intent. Much of what we now hear about quality is focused on the improvement of our systems and processes to enhance patient safety and the quality of care. It is through efforts such as Improve Care Now that quality healthcare will be as easily recognizable by all patients and their families as a comfortable chair.

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