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Neonatal Netw. 2007 May-Jun;26(3):161-6.

Use of the six sigma methodology to reduce incidence of breast milk administration errors in the NICU.

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  • 1Children's Hospital of Illinois, USA.


Breast milk is the optimal source of nutrition for infants. According to research, neonates fed breast milk have a reduced risk of sepsis, increased feeding tolerance, a decreased incidence of necrotizing enterocolitis, and better neurodevelopmental outcomes. Unfortunately, researchers have not identified practices to reduce or eliminate the risk for errors in breast milk administration. This article discusses the potential hazards of incorrect administration of breast milk. It then describes how the tertiary care center at Children's Hospital of Illinois implemented a policy utilizing six sigma quality improvement methodologies to improve breast milk administration. Since implementation of this policy, the NICU at our hospital has reduced the risk of breast milk administration errors to less than 3.4 mistakes per million opportunities.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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