CHOC’s Commitment to Quality and Safety: An Update from the Chief Quality and Patient Safety Officer

By Dr. James Cappon

At CHOC Children’s, we’ve worked hard to build a culture of safety, quality and collaboration. We’re proud to have cultivated an environment that not only prioritizes safety, but also emphasizes sharing and openness so that we can all learn from best practices, as well as mistakes or near misses.

So, when a leading safety organizes recognizes CHOC’s commitment to quality, it’s icing on the cake. We are thrilled to be the first pediatric facility in the world to be named a five-star hospital by the Patient Safety Movement Foundation (PSMF).

Dr. James Cappon, CHOC Children’s chief quality and patient safety officer

To reach this achievement, we’ve made formal commitments to all PSMF Actionable Patient Safety Solutions (APSS) – processes designed to eliminate preventable deaths – that are relevant to pediatric care.

Our collaboration with PSMF reinforces the natural tendencies within pediatric care to collaborate broadly, share readily and move quickly in evidence-based ways to constantly learn, teach and make all efforts to avoid patient harm.

Checklists remain key

All of this translates into CHOC’s belief in using checklists. Checklists work, as other industries know well. The concept of the PSMF’s APSS work. In an increasingly complex world, we just need to do the simple, proven things that lead us to our desired outcomes. And our patients and families thank us for our attention to small detail, which reaps big benefit.

We are active partners in a number of regional, state and national networks of children’s providers, patient safety organizations and specialty areas of excellence such as nursing, trauma, extracorporeal life support, and patient and employee experience – all of whom have some compendium of best practice standards.

That’s a good catch

In addition to collaborating and sharing information with our outside partners, we’re doing the same within the walls of our own campus. To move the needle on safety and quality, we all need to be open to learning, course correcting, and sharing. Our “Good Catch” program at CHOC is a great example of that.

This effort is designed to encourage employees to keep their eyes open and speak up when they notice something that could have gone wrong – without fear of punishment or retaliation. Under the program, employees who report a near miss or close call that could have harmed a patient, family member, colleague or visitor are entered into a raffle for prizes each month.

One person who submits a Great Catch – a near miss that could have harmed someone and led to a significant process improvement effort – earns a bigger prize each month.

Investing in quality, safety

We know the small investments in incentives for this program will pay off in dividends when it comes to continuing to cultivate an open and honest dialog around safety and quality at CHOC.

We believe in the power of stories and the importance of individual events, not just rates. This helps us see the impact of single instance and is consistent with our patient- and family-centered model of care.


U.S. News Ranks CHOC Among Nation’s Best Children’s Hospitals

CHOC Children’s has once again been named one of the nation’s best children’s hospitals by U.S. News & World Report in its 2018-19 Best Children’s Hospitals rankings. CHOC ranked in six specialties: cancer, neonatology, neurology/neurosurgery, orthopedics, pulmonology and urology. Neonatology ranked in the “top 25,” list for its specialty, and urology in the “top 20.”

According to U.S. News, the Best Children’s Hospitals rankings were introduced in 2007 to help families of children with rare or life-threatening illnesses find the best medical care available. The rankings recognize the top 50 pediatric facilities across the United States in 10 pediatric specialties, from cancer to urology.

“This honor reflects CHOC Children’s steadfast commitment to the highest standards of patient care and safety,” says Dr. James Cappon, CHOC’s chief quality officer. “Recognition from U.S. News of our excellence in these subspecialties, including two on the top 25 lists, validates our efforts, but also provides our patients and families with even more assurance of our commitment to excelling in all areas of care.”

The U.S. News Best Children’s Hospitals rankings rely on clinical data and on an annual survey of pediatric specialists. The rankings’ methodology factors in patient outcomes, such as mortality, surgical success and infection rates, as well as available clinical resources and compliance with best practices.

“The U.S. News Best Children’s Hospitals highlight pediatric centers that deliver state-of-the-art medical care to children with complex conditions,” said Ben Harder, chief of health analysis at U.S. News. “Children with life-threatening or rare conditions need the level of quality care that these hospitals deliver day after day.”

Survival rates, adequacy of nurse staffing, procedure and patient volume, availability of programs for particular illnesses and conditions and more can be viewed at

CHOC Recognized for Use of Health Information Technology to Advance Safe, Quality Care

CHOC recently became the first children’s hospital on the West Coast-and only third in the nation- to receive the Enterprise Davies Award from the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS). The honor recognizes CHOC for its design and use of health information technology to advance outstanding achievements in patient care.

In this podcast, Dr. William Feaster, chief medical information officer, and Dr. James Cappon, chief quality officer, highlight some of CHOC’s investments in health information technology and the impact these investments have had on patient safety. From an electronic medical record-enabled early warning system that has helped close to 400 children avoid resuscitation, with potentially as many lives saved, to breastmilk barcoding to eliminate feedings of the wrong breast milk, CHOC has experienced measurable improvements from its efforts.

Listen to learn how CHOC is making kids’ care better – kids’ lives better – through the use of technology.

CHOC Named One of the Safest Hospitals in the Nation

CHOC Children’s Hospital has once again been named a “Top Hospital” by The Leapfrog Group for providing the safest and highest quality health care services to patients.  CHOC is one of only nine children’s hospitals in the nation—and the only one on the West Coast— to earn the prestigious distinction.

“CHOC is committed to becoming the world’s safest children’s hospital. While this is a never-ending journey, being named as a Top Children’s Hospital for the eighth time by the Leapfrog Group suggests we are on the right track. Leapfrog has always emphasized patient safety as the top priority, one with which our patients, families and partners would no doubt agree. It’s a humbling honor, and serves as both encouragement and motivation to continue our efforts to provide the safest, highest quality care possible,” said Dr. James Cappon, chief quality officer, CHOC.

The selection of Top Hospitals is based on the results of the 2016 Leapfrog Hospital Survey. Performance across many areas of hospital care is considered in establishing the qualifications for the award, including infection rates and a hospital’s ability to prevent medication errors. The rigorous standards are defined in each year’s Top Hospital Methodology.

“Being acknowledged as a Top Hospital is an incredible feat achieved by less than three percent of hospitals nationwide,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “With this honor, CHOC has established its commitment to safer and higher quality care. Providing this level of care to patients requires motivation and drive from every team member. I congratulate CHOC’s board, staff and clinicians, whose efforts made this honor possible.”