Cincinnati Children’s Earns Codman Award For Improvements in Quality, Safety of Health Care

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Joint Commission, which accredits and certifies more than 15,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States, has named Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center a 2008 recipient of the 12th annual Ernest Amory Codman Award. The award recognizes excellence in the use of outcomes measurement by health care organizations to achieve improvements in the quality and safety of health care.

Cincinnati Children’s is one of three recipients of the award in the hospital category and is being recognized for an initiative to eliminate preventable surgical site infections. During a two-year period, the organization reduced preventable surgical site infection rates from 1.3 per 100 procedure days to .54 per 100 procedure days by using a new, tailored pediatric surgical site infection "bundle" of care components that decreased infection rates and improved efficiency. This bundle is now being used by other children’s hospitals in the United States.

Named for the physician regarded in health care as the "father of outcomes measurement," the Ernest Amory Codman Award showcases the effective use of performance measurement by health care organizations to improve the quality and safety of health care. The Joint Commission also recognizes an individual who has played a significant leadership role in promoting the use of performance measures to improve health care services, or who has made major contributions to the development and testing of performance measures or the science and art of quality improvement. A panel of national experts in quality measurement and improvement selected the five recipients of the 2008 Awards.

"The 2008 Codman Award recipients exemplify how performance measurement improves the quality and safety of health care," says Mark R. Chassin, MD, president, The Joint Commission. "Their achievements demonstrate the progress that can be made when process and outcomes measures are combined into meaningful practices that result in better patient care."

After determining that there was substantial potential for improvement in its surgical site infection rates, Cincinnati Children’s set a goal to reduce the combined Class I and Class II rates to 0.5 per 100 procedure days. Staff emphasized the proper administration of all aspects of their pediatric-specific initiative, including correct pre-operative antibiotic administration, skin preparation and intra-operative oxygen and temperature management.

Most importantly, staff made modifications to ensure that approaches were appropriate for the pediatric population. For example, they adapted the pediatric surgical site infection bundle and established pediatric dosing limits and parameters as "one size never fits all." Finally, the hospital increased internal and external transparency of quality and safety data; surgical site infections were one of the first outcomes posted on the Cincinnati Children's web site.

"The real winner continues to be our patients, says Fred Ryckman, MD, surgical director, Liver Transplant. “This effort has decreased the likelihood of developing a post surgical infection by three-fold over three years, meaning that 53 children had an infection prevented compared to our experience prior to 2005. “This effort and others here at Cincinnati Children’s continue to show how we can really make a transformational difference in health care when we commit to work together with one goal in mind: the best care for our patients.”

Cincinnati Children’s receives the award on Nov. 19 during The Joint Commission and Joint Commission Resources Annual Conference on Quality and Safety in Chicago. Additional award recipients in the following categories are: 

  • Hospital: Carolinas Medical Center, Charlotte, North Carolina; and Mission Hospital, Mission Viejo, California
  • Multiple Organization: Novant Health, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  • Individual (posthumous): Shukri F. Khuri, MD, former professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School, former chief of cardiothoracic surgery at VA Boston Healthcare Systems and former vice chairman, department of surgery, at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center is one of America’s top three children’s hospitals for general pediatrics and is highly ranked for its expertise in digestive diseases, respiratory diseases, cancer, neonatal care, heart care and neurosurgery, according to the annual ranking of best children's hospitals by U.S. News & World Report. One of the three largest children’s hospitals in the U.S., Cincinnati Children’s is affiliated with the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and is one of the top two recipients of pediatric research grants from the National Institutes of Health.

For its achievements in transforming healthcare, Cincinnati Children's is one of six U.S. hospitals since 2002 to be awarded the American Hospital Association-McKesson Quest for Quality Prize® for leadership and innovation in quality, safety and commitment to patient care. The hospital is a national and international referral center for complex cases, so that children with the most difficult-to-treat diseases and conditions receive the most advanced care leading to better outcomes.

Contact Information

Jim Feuer, 513-636-4656,