by Carolyn Reynolds, APRN, MS, operations director, Pediatric Specialties Clinical Program
The Pediatric Specialties Clinical Program is one of Intermountain Healthcare’s newest clinical programs. It was created in 2005 in response to growing requests from across Intermountain to make pediatric subspecialty care available on a more widespread basis.
The vision for the pediatric services clinical program is to offer both geographic accessibility and sustainable quality. We believe, and research supports, that if all elements of quality are equivalent, a child is best served receiving care close to home. In order to achieve this, we’ve developed the following guiding principles:
- All Intermountain facilities provide care to children.
- We will maintain Primary Children’s Medical Center as one of the nation’s leading children’s hospitals, and we believe the pediatric subspecialty expertise available from Primary Children’s can be extended to support pediatric services across the system.
There must be a shift from an “inpatient bed-based” delivery model to a “patient-centered” delivery model that focuses on the continuum of care within a facility.
- We must be able to provide all kinds of care: emergency, acute, and chronic care. If services are not available at a local level, then a plan must be put into place for accessing services from pediatric subspecialty providers within the system or community.
- Community pediatricians are partners and essential participants in the planning process and implementation of plans.
- We have to be thoughtful about how we allocate our resources, so we can: minimize duplication or fragmentation; keep costs low and quality high; invest in programs that are sustainable over time; and maintain critical mass.
- We’ve created standards for determining the pediatric specialty services offered based on region and/or facility size. That way, we can be sure we meet the program, infrastructure, facility, technology, and manpower requirements of each.
With the creation of the regional pediatric infrastructure, the clinical program has been successful at rolling out evidence-based care process models for several common pediatric problems.
In 2008, for example, we successfully implemented a care process model (CPM) for the treatment of babies with fevers. This CPM has helped us provide better care, on a more consistent basis, for these babies. It also has been accepted by the American Board of Pediatrics (only the eighth such project in the nation) as an approved quality improvement project for a pediatrician to use to maintain certification with the Board. Moreover, the president of the American Board of Pediatrics recently indicated that if this CPM were implemented on a national level, it would likely save $2 billion per year in healthcare costs.
This is an exciting time for the Pediatric Specialties Clinical Program. We are continuing to create our vision of bringing high quality pediatric services closer to home.