Eliminating Delays in Identifying Children with Birth Defects
The Minnesota Department of Health Birth Defects Program streamlined the process for identifying children with birth defects, so their families can be linked faster to services and resources designed to meet the children's unique developmental needs. These programs help children with birth defects thrive, grow, and be as healthy as possible.
Each year, the Birth Defects Program identifies more than 1,600 children with a birth defect. The process starts when a list of likely birth defect cases is received from hospitals and clinics. The key problem that the Birth Defects Program team was experiencing was lengthy periods from the initial reports of a possible case to the nurse review stage. The process also included multiple unnecessary handoffs, and team reviews needed to be reduced. Through a Kaizen event, the median time to identify a child with a birth defect was reduced by 27%, dropping from 49 to 37 days. The maximum time dropped by 53%. Previously, complex cases could take more than a year to accurately identify. The team developed a consolidated, centralized manual that improved consistent classification of birth defects and agreed to stop automatic review by medical specialists of the most severe conditions when there were no coding questions, which had been the standard practice. These changes caused a 61% drop in the number of cases sent to team review, which eliminated the backlog of cases and reduced the costs for additional staff and contracts with medical specialists.
Lenartz, S. Public Health Quality Improvement Exchange. Eliminating Delays in Identifying Children with Birth Defects. Wed, 08/12/2015 - 14:22. Available at https://www.phqix.org/content/eliminating-delays-identifying-children-birth-defects. Accessed December 7, 2023.