Use of a Clinical Care Algorithm to Improve Care for Children With Hematogenous Osteomyelitis

Acute hematogenous osteomyelitis (AHO) causes significant morbidity in children. Quality improvement (QI) methods have been used to successfully improve care and decrease costs through standardization for numerous conditions, including pediatric AHO. We embarked on a QI initiative to standardize our approach to the inpatient management of AHO, with a global aim of reducing inpatient costs.


We used existing literature and local consensus to develop a care algorithm for the inpatient management of AHO. We used the Model for Improvement as the framework for the project, which included process mapping, failure mode analysis, and key driver identification. We engaged with institutional providers to achieve at least 80% consensus regarding specific key drivers and tested various interventions to support uptake of the care algorithm.


Fifty-seven patients were included. There were 31 patients in the preintervention cohort and 26 in the postintervention cohort, of whom 19 were managed per the algorithm. Mean inpatient charges decreased from $45 718 in the preintervention cohort to $32 895 in the postintervention cohort; length of stay did not change. Adherence to recommended empirical antimicrobial agents trended upward.


A simple and low-cost QI project was used to safely decrease the cost of inpatient care for pediatric AHO at a tertiary care children’s hospital. A robust local consensus process proved to be a key component in the uptake of standardization.