This program will support the important effort to reduce diagnostic errors among infants and children with congenital heart disease. The funding will support the implementation of a quality and safety outreach program to 10-12 New England hospitals, thereby helping to positively impact between 2,000 and 3,000 pediatric lives.

Pediatric heart surgery has led to significant reductions in deaths caused by congenital heart disease, however, rapid surgical or medical treatment requires accurate diagnosis of the heart defect. Diagnostic errors or failure to diagnose heart disease places infants and children at risk for permanent injury and death. Diagnostic errors are responsible for a large percentage of hospital complications, cause greater patient harm than medication errors and are a leading cause of permanent organ damage. Diagnostic errors are frequently caused by incomplete or incorrect cardiac imaging by echocardiography. Training and following standard procedures will have significant positive impact on error rates.

To address the problem, the Massachusetts General Hospital for Children Pediatric Cardiology division has recently developed the Echocardiography Quality Improvement Project (EchoQIP), a program designed to reduce diagnostic errors among infants and children across multiple pediatric heart centers. After the coaching/training component, EchoQIP then measures improvement and diagnostic accuracy and imaging quality of pediatric echocardiograms. The MassGeneral Hospital for Children Pediatric Cardiology program will reach out to pediatric heart centers in New England to teach strategies to improve the accurate diagnosis off heart disease in infants and children.