Cancer Center ranked No. 3 in the nation by U.S. News

September 10, 2019

Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers is one of the largest cancer and blood disorder centers in the country, diagnosing more than 4,000 new patients a year. Over the past decade, patients from all over the world have traveled to Texas Children’s because they know we are a leader in family-centered care and provide personalized, comprehensive services that address both the physical and emotional aspects of the disease.

Named No. 3 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report 2019-2020 Best Children’s Hospitals rankings, Texas Children’s Cancer Center comprises a multidisciplinary team of dedicated and compassionate physicians, advanced practice providers, nurses, child life specialists, social workers and other subspecialists who care for the physical, emotional and psychosocial needs of young patients.

Our world-renowned staff of nearly 200 faculty and more than 1,000 employees have pioneered many of the now standard protocols for treating and curing pediatric cancer and blood disorders. In addition, we provide a full range of pediatric subspecialty care available in-house 24 hours a day and treat all pediatric cancer and blood disorders, even the rarest disorders.

In addition to providing world-class, comprehensive patient care, our hematologist/oncologists are leading the way in advancing pediatric cancer and hematology research. The Cancer and Hematology Centers have 47 laboratories and more than 350 people who are engaged in research to help revolutionize cutting-edge therapies for treating and ultimately curing all childhood cancers and blood disorders.

“Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers, world renowned for its clinical care, research and education, offers innovative therapies for all forms of childhood cancer and blood disorders,” said Dr. Susan Blaney, director of Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers. “In addition, physicians-scientists at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers are working relentlessly to improve the outcome for all patients afflicted with these diseases and to develop and perfect new treatment approaches that emanate from some of their most extraordinary scientific insights and discoveries.”

All of this and more is why Texas Children’s Cancer Center is continuously ranked by U.S. News as one of the best places in the nation to receive pediatric care. The rankings use a well-accepted framework for evaluating quality of health care, which factors in patient outcomes, such as mortality and infection rates; available clinical resources, such as specialized clinics and programs and external accreditations; and compliance with best practices. Improved rankings demonstrate a health care organization’s commitment to not only providing high-quality care, but also to identifying gaps where improvements are needed.

Big wins for patients and families

This past year, the Cancer Center built on its legacy of success and implemented new initiatives to increase transparency, reduce risk of infection and improve the quality of care. Here are some of the center’s big wins for patients and families:

  • Made significant improvements to reduce Central line-associated bloodstream infection rate

Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers’ leadership team identified high-risk central line-associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI) patients and increased rounding with the Centers’ infection control medical director, infection control practitioner and leadership team. Beginning in 2019, the Clinical Operations Team also partnered with nursing, pharmacy and physicians within the Centers, as well as with other departments, including but not limited to, Pediatric Surgery, Infectious Disease, Interventional Radiology and Anesthesia to develop a standardized central line placement and removal practice to decrease variations in line placement and care. These efforts have facilitated a reduction in Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers CLABSI rates from 1.31 in 2018 to 0.82 in 2019. Leaders anticipate the rate will lower next year.

  • Implemented computerized provider order entry system for chemotherapy orders

In partnership with Information Services, Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers implemented Epic Beacon, which is the oncology module in Epic that allows physicians to input orders for services, such as chemotherapy, electronically. Adopting such technology is considered best practice as it provides clarity and automated calculations to enhance safety. It also allows these orders to be created and queued up in advance of patient visits for cancer treatment, which should improve patient satisfaction by decreasing wait times.

  • Increased the percentage of patients who received intravenous treatment of antibiotics within an hour of initial triage

The Texas Children’s Cancer Center maintained >95 percent compliance the administration of intravenous antibiotics within an hour of initial triage for oncology patients who were seen in the Texas Children’s Emergency Center and Texas Children’s Cancer Center’s Urgent Care Bay across Texas Children’s three hospital campuses. The Centers’ data tracking over the past year improved greatly due to the strong work of Warren Boudreau, director of Quality Outcomes and Impact Service, and his team. In partnership and collaboration with the Emergency Department, the Centers were able to decrease its antibiotic administration time by an average of 20 minutes. This timely administration of antibiotics in our pediatric patient population is a national standard for decreasing the incidence of sepsis, morbidity and mortality.

  • Increased five-year survival of patient with neuroblastoma

Neuroblastoma is one of the most common solid tumors in children, and approximately 700 patients are diagnosed each year in the United States. Texas Children’s Cancer Center cares for patients of all ages diagnosed with neuroblastoma, which in the later stages is a highly aggressive tumor. For localized, low stage neuroblastoma Stage L1, the Center’s survival rate was 100 percent. For metastatic neuroblastoma, the survival rate was 53 percent, a 10 percent improvement from the previous year. Metaiodobenzylguanidine or MIBG therapy is likely a contributing factor to the Center’s increased success as well as the availability of varying molecular and targeted therapies, and new treatment protocols.

  • Closed out all structural related metrics

As described in the methodology section of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Children’s Hospitals’ publication, structure refers to hospital resources directly related to patient care and includes the ratio of nurses to patients, the presence of specialized clinics and programs and the certification by recognized external organizations. The Cancer and Hematology Centers were able to successfully demonstrate that each of these services were available, including molecular oncology/targeted therapy programs, an on-site inpatient pediatric rehabilitation unit with individualized dedicated cancer rehabilitation programming, participation in the Solutions for Patient Safety Hematology/Oncology CLABSI Working Group and maintenance of a quality committee with an identified medical director/leader.