Video Abstract

Video Abstract

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Serious safety events (SSEs) occur infrequently at individual hospitals, making it difficult to establish trends to improve patient care. Patient safety organizations, such as the Child Health Patient Safety Organization (CHILDPSO), can identify trends and support learning across children’s hospitals. We aim to describe longitudinal trends in SSE rates among CHILDPSO member hospitals and describe their sources of harm.


SSEs from 44 children’s hospitals were assigned severity and reported to CHILDPSO from January 1, 2015, to December 31, 2018. SSEs were classified into groups and subgroups based on analysis. Events were then tagged with up to 3 contributing factors. Subgroups with <5 events were excluded.


There were 22.5 million adjusted patient days included. The 12-month rolling average SSE rate per 10 000 adjusted patient days decreased from 0.71 to 0.41 (P < .001). There were 830 SSEs reported to CHILDPSO. The median hospital volume of SSEs was 12 events (interquartile range: 6–23), or ∼3 SSEs per year. Of the 830 events, 21.0% were high severity (SSE 1–3) and approximately two-thirds (67.0%, n = 610) were patient care management events, including subgroups of missed, delayed, or wrong diagnosis or treatment; medication errors; and suboptimal care coordination. The most common contributing factor was lack of situational awareness (17.9%, n = 382), which contributed to 1 in 5 (20%) high-severity SSEs.


Hospitals sharing SSE data through CHILDPSO have seen a decrease in SSEs. Patient care management was the most frequently seen. Future work should focus on investigation of contributing factors and risk mitigation strategies.

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