Parents whose children need surgery can have enhanced trust in Akron Children’s Hospital now that it has been verified as a Level 1 Children’s Surgery Center by the American College of Surgeons Children’s Surgery Verification Quality Improvement Program.
Akron Children’s joins other top children’s hospitals in achieving Children’s Surgery Verification, and is the only northeast Ohio hospital to earn the designation.
Akron Children’s department of surgery earned Children’s Surgery Verification after more than two years of work examining in detail its processes and procedures to ensure that each child’s specific needs are met when surgery is necessary.
Dr. Wulkan added that the verification means both families and regional providers can feel secure with the surgical care Akron Children’s provides on its Akron campus.
“For parents, it gives them a level of comfort and calm when they have to bring their child in for something very stressful,” he said. “They can be assured that we are operating at the highest level and their child will get the best care.”
For providers, he said it means that when they refer patients to Akron Children’s they can trust that their patients will receive high quality patient- and family-centered care.
Dr. Tsulee Chen, director of neurosurgery, and surgical program manager Heather Cairns were integral members of the team that worked with Dr. Wulkan on the extensive process to apply for Children’s Surgery Verification.
“This was a two- to three-year process in the making,” said Dr. Chen.
The effort started with a thorough look at the program requirements and a gap analysis to see what work Akron Children’s needed to do to successfully apply. While Akron Children’s was already engaged in many of the program’s requirements, the process led to improvements in how the hospital’s many specialties work together and share data and information to improve surgical care.
After the hospital’s application was accepted, surveyors conducted a virtual site visit in June. The surveyors consisted of experienced children’s surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses who reviewed the hospital’s structure, processes and clinical outcomes data.
Akron Children’s was notified Aug. 11 that it earned the recognition. According to the American College of Surgeons, Akron Children’s met essential criteria for staffing, training and facility infrastructure and protocols for care. The hospital also participates in a national data registry that yields semiannual reports on the quality of its processes and outcomes, thus identifying opportunities for continuous quality improvement.
Dr. Chen said the hospital will be evaluated every three years to maintain the verification.
Earning Children’s Surgery Verification is something that will help the community see that Akron Children’s stands out among hospitals around the country, Dr. Wulkan said.
“It acknowledges our place on the national stage with the other top pediatric hospitals,” he said. “We are the only hospital in northeast Ohio where every person wakes up dedicated to taking care of children.”