Dr. Mike Bird named clinical leader of Ohio collaborative

Dr. Mike Bird

Dr. Mike Bird

Michael Bird, MD, MPH, vice president of quality and patient safety at Akron Children’s Hospital, has been named clinical leader of the Ohio Children’s Hospitals Solutions for Patient Safety (OCHSPS).

The network is a collaborative effort among the 8 children’s hospitals in Ohio that aims to make the state’s children’s hospitals the safest places in the nation to receive healthcare. Their motto: No child will ever experience harm while we are trying to heal them.

In his new role, Dr. Bird will spend a few days a month focused on state-wide collaborative work.

“I provide clinical leadership and help set the direction and priorities for the collaborative,” said Dr. Bird. “This includes leading monthly calls with member hospitals, going over our progress and action steps, and leading the discussion on what’s working and where we are still challenged.”

The themes of collaboration, high reliability, quality improvement, transparency and modesty are not things that usually come to mind when talking about competing hospitals. However, Dr. Bird stressed that the members put aside competition when it comes to keeping patients safe.

“We hold quarterly learning sessions at one of the hospitals to review our data and plan our next course of action,” he said. “Our All Teach, All Learn philosophy means that everyone participates and shares information. We don’t compete when it comes to safety.”

Some of the goals that have been achieved by Ohio’s team of CEOs, project managers, quality leaders, and multidisciplinary teams included a 60 percent reduction in surgical site infections in designated cardiac, neurosurgery and orthopedic procedures, and a 40 percent drop in overall adverse drug events.

According to the OCHSPS, these efforts saved 7,700 children from unnecessary harm and avoided $11.8 million in unnecessary healthcare costs in the first 2 years alone.

Founded in 2009 in Ohio, the collaborative went national in 2012 and now boasts a national membership of 78 pediatric hospitals.

OCHSPS’s goals for 2014 include a:

  • 50 percent reduction of serious harm events in hospital-acquired conditions
  • 50 percent reduction in serious safety events
  • 25 percent reduction in employee injuries

To help us reach those goals, the children’s hospitals will start an initiative around improving recognition of deteriorating patients and one around employee safety.

All of the Ohio hospitals are striving to become High Reliability Organizations (HROs). Dr. Bird likened it to taking something that has been relatively risky and making it quite safe, like air travel.

“We’ve seen a significant decrease in airline crashes because the airlines have adopted safety behaviors around communication, teamwork and support for a questioning attitude,” he said. “Healthcare organizations are doing the same thing.”

Just Culture, the philosophy that people should be treated fairly, has helped reinforce the hospital’s safety goals.

“By not punishing people for the errors they make, we are encouraging them to come forward rather than covering up mistakes,” said Dr. Bird. “This culture allows others to learn from that person’s mistake and reduces the chances of it happening again.”

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