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History of VPS

A New Corporate Entity

In 2005, the close working relationship among the three entities (VPICU, NACHRI, NOC) was formalized and culminated in the formation of a new corporate entity, Virtual PICU Systems, LLC.   Today, the ownership is between the not-for-profit owners of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (“CHLA”) and Children’s Hospital Association (“CHA”).   A research committee, a panel of advisors and user groups have been established to assure the ongoing growth of VPS.  Today, VPS has a unique system widely recognized as a leader in pediatric quality improvements.

In 1997, the Laura P. and Leland K. Whittier Virtual Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (“VPICU”) was founded by a generous grant to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles from the Whittier Foundation, under the direction of Dr. Randall Wetzel. VPICU focuses on bringing information technologies to serve pediatric critical care medicine by supporting patient care, quality improvement, distance learning and research.  At the same time the PICU Focus Groups, sponsored by the National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions (“NACHRI”), needed a software tool to facilitate multisite quality improvement and research.  Both organizations realized that a poor understanding of pediatric critical care practice, coupled with the lack of even simple descriptive statistics, meant that we did not know how critical care was practiced for children.  At that time, ICUs were neither connected to the internet nor effectively comparing or sharing data.  Facilitated by Dr. Thomas Rice, and with the leadership of Mary Gorman of NACHRI, VPICU and NACHRI collaborated in a development process that included 15 pediatric intensivists. The result was a demographic, diagnostic and severity of illness adjusted software tool that collected information from member units, on all patients, with actual outcomes collected.  For the first time, it was possible to start understanding how critical care was practiced across the United States.


The original intensivists continued to suggest improvements, reports, research projects, and comprehensive development, along with new VPS users, for improving the data collection and reporting.  By this time, in recognition of the importance of quality data for quality improvement, The National Outcomes Center (“NOC”) at Children’s Hospital and Health Systems, Milwaukee, under the direction of Dr. Ramesh Sachdeva, had become a third party providing value for VPS members.  The data quality and comparative reports improved tremendously.  In addition, the scientific rigor applied to data acquisition, data validity and data quality set a high standard, yet to be met by others, in pediatrics.  With inter-rater reliability results of greater than 97%, the data collected for nearly 20 years from over one million cases is of such high quality that it allows for reliable and reproducible generation of meaningful, actionable information for intensivists, hospital executives and for the service of critically ill children. VPS maintains the highest level of quality data possible with the following quality efforts contributing to the overall high quality of the data.