Reducing the Time to Action on Bilirubin Results Overnight in a Newborn Nursery

Pediatr Qual Saf. 2023 Dec 12;8(6):e707. doi: 10.1097/pq9.0000000000000707. eCollection 2023 Nov-Dec.


Introduction: Infants commonly require phototherapy in the nursery to prevent kernicterus, but it can interfere with parent-infant bonding. Minimizing unnecessary phototherapy is important. We noticed frequent delays in initiating and discontinuing phototherapy at our hospital. Our primary aim was to start or stop phototherapy within 3 hours of the intended blood draw time for more than 80% of patients by August 2022. Our secondary aims were to have the bilirubin result available within two hours of the intended draw time and for the result to be actioned upon within 1 hour of becoming available.

Methods: We audited all patients requiring phototherapy, from January 2021 to December 2021 (n = 250). In PDSA cycle 1, we used electronic medical record result alerts. In cycle 2, we educated residents on the importance of acting promptly on results. In cycle 3, we asked residents to message the nurse to alert them to any laboratory draws for that shift. In cycle 4, we implemented a standardized laboratory draw policy.

Results: We increased the percentage of results acted upon within 3 hours from 56% to more than 80%. We also reduced the mean time from blood draw to action from 184 minutes to 134 minutes. The time from intended draw to result availability decreased from 115 minutes to 95 minutes, and the time to action decreased from 67 minutes to 42 minutes.

Conclusions: Combining resident education, electronic medical record result alerts, and policy standardization allowed us to achieve our stated aim and improved care for our neonates.