The University of Chicago Medicine - Comer Children's Hospital

Department of Pediatrics 2017 Annual Report

Community Health Hospitalist Medicine

Mom Destiny Ellis with patient Amari and dad Kirby Miles

Hospitalized children experience a significant burden of harm

Brett Palama, MD, MS, with patient Amari, parents Kirby Miles and Destiny Ellis and Ed Marchese, MD

Brett Palama, MD, MS, is on a quest to identify factors that place hospitalized children at risk of experiencing harm due to medical care. 

To do this, the pediatric hospitalist is employing an emerging methodology known as trigger tools, which has been shown to be more sensitive at detecting in-hospital adverse events than the prior approach of using voluntary reporting or billing data. 

As a fellow, Palama used adverse event data to determine the association between the presence of medical complexity and risk of experiencing an adverse event while hospitalized. His single-site data showed that children with medical complexity experienced harm at a higher rate than those without medical complexity, and that these adverse events tended to be more severe and require more significant intervention. 

“Our goal is to identify which patients are at the highest risk of harm and then use appropriate interventions aimed at improving patient safety in hospitalized children,” says Palama.

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