Dell Children’s Medical Center Receives THA’s Bill Aston Award for Quality

Recognized for Their Work in Idiopathic Scoliosis Spinal Fusions



Carrie Williams 
Chief Communications Officer 
512/465-1052 | [email protected]

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(AUSTIN, Texas – March 10, 2021)  – The Texas Hospital Association named Dell Children’s Medical Center in Austin as a recipient of the 2020 Bill Aston Award for Quality.

The THA Bill Aston Award for Quality honors a hospital’s measurable success in improving quality and patient outcomes through the sustained implementation of a national and/or state evidence-based patient care initiative.

Dell Children’s Medical Center in Austin developed a swift recovery pathway for idiopathic scoliosis spinal fusions. Evidence supports the use of a rapid recovery pathway for spinal fusion surgery, including admission to the acute care floor, early mobilization, early transition from intravenous narcotics to oral pain management, and early initiation of a bowel regimen.

A multidisciplinary team of nurses, orthopedic spine surgeons, anesthesiologists, physician assistants, and other stakeholders began meeting monthly to develop a pathway to success using a Johns Hopkins Nursing model. So far, they have decreased length of stays, decreased intravenous opioid use and increased patient satisfaction. 

Early figures also show significant financial improvement in the cost of care. The average total cost reduction is around $27,776 per case. Annualized, this creates an estimated total cost savings of $1,388,801 and a gross charge reduction of 13.72%. 

By creating their rapid recovery pathway, Dell Children’s has addressed the most common barriers to fully functional recoveries. Additionally, admissions of spinal fusion patients directly to the acute care floor has reduced costs and length of stay without compromising patient safety.

About THA
Founded in 1930, the Texas Hospital Association is the leadership organization and principal advocate for the state’s hospitals and health care systems. Based in Austin, THA enhances its members’ abilities to improve accessibility, quality and cost-effectiveness of health care for all Texans. One of the largest hospital associations in the country, THA represents 452 of the state’s non-federal general and specialty hospitals and health care systems, which employ some 400,000 health care professionals statewide. Learn more about THA at or follow THA on Twitter at