Project TICKER underway; first newsletter published

Project TICKER (Teamwork to Improve Cardiac Kids' End Results), which began in September of last year, aims to implement a patient- and family-centered safe practice infrastructure for pediatric congenital heart disease patients at N.C. Children’s Hospital.

The Project TICKER plans to do this by (1) implementing a robust communication and teamwork foundation for the general care of the inpatient pediatric congenital heart disease service line using a tailored training program, TeamSTEPPS and (2) designing and implementing integrated clinical pathways (ICPs) for two of the most common congenital heart disease diagnoses using the specific teamwork tools of TeamSTEPPS and evidence‐based standardized care.

The project is funded by a $580,000, two-year grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Tina Schade Willis, MD, assistant professor of anesthesiology is principal investigator for the project. Co-investigator Michael Mill, MD, professor of surgery and chief of the UNC cardiothoracic surgery division, is the lead surgical content expert for the project and Scott Buck, MD, associate professor of cardiology and another co-investigator on the project, is the lead cardiology content expert, providing cardiology expertise for clinical pathways design and teamwork units across the service line.

Since September, the team has focused specifically on the first goal of the project - to train all personnel involved in the Pediatric Cardiac Service Line in TeamSTEPPS. So far, all areas - the Pediatric Cardiac OR, Pediatric ICU, Children’s Intermediate Cardiac Care (CICC), and the Newborn Critical Care Center – have participated in training and expect to have all staff trained by the end of June.

Additionally, since Project TICKER aims to take a family-centered approach to medical care, five patient families are acting as advisors to the project. Dr. Willis led the first family advisor meeting in March.

With TeamSTEPPS training near completion, the group is beginning to work toward their second goal – to design and implement ICPs, which are essentially patient care plans. The ICPs are designed to improve quality by decreasing unnecessary variations in care and standardizing best practices. Frontline staff, patients, and the families advisors will all play an important role the development of these clinical pathways.

To read more about the TeamSTEPPS training and the family advisors for the project, please take a look at the first issue of the Project TICKER newsletter, which was published in April.

Be on the lookout for more news about the project over the next few months.

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