Quality and costs
Fortunately, children are nearly three times less likely to require health care services than adults. However, when they do become ill, they require more -- and more costly -- support.
Treating children requires more staff and resources per patient for a number of reasons:
- Many children are unable to fully communicate or explain their needs.
- Pediatric patients require closer monitoring.
- Sick children need help with daily activities that ill adults can manage on their own.
- Caregivers need to support parents and well siblings, as well as sick children.
Both inpatient care and rehabilitation services for pediatric patients tend to require more clinical support and technology:
- Young children are especially vulnerable to rapid deterioration because of smaller physiological reserves and immature immune systems.
- Children require 40 percent more doses of medication when they are hospitalized than do adults.
- Forty percent of children under age 5 require sedation for outpatient procedures.
- The risk of cardiac arrest is tenfold higher in pediatric patients than in adults.
- Because of the great variety of sizes of our patients (from premature infants weighing less than a pound to 300-pound teenagers battling obesity), a wide variety of equipment needs to be on hand for treatment.
Tracking and benchmarking quality in the delivery of pediatric care is challenging because there is not a centralized large payer (such as Medicare) that provides the benchmarking. However, Children's uses whatever benchmarks are publicly available to look for best practices and promotes the sharing of quality and safety data among its peers. The hospital participates in many public reporting systems, including Leapfrog, Patients First and MHQP, and collaborates with managed care plans to establish quality and safety goals for performance improvement.
Children's understands that the cost of care cannot continue to increase exponentially, and has taken steps to decrease the increasing costs of its care, including more efficiently using its resources and cutting costs. When benchmarked against its top peers, Children's costs are, on average, significantly lower.