Phased Support Approach

Phased Support Approach

Children’s HeartLink’s phased support approach guides our clinical and organizational work with our partner hospitals. Our medical volunteers provide the core clinical expertise, training and mentoring. The phased approach is flexible, allowing Children’s HeartLink to support our partner hospitals effectively and efficiently while maintaining focus on the long-term goals of sustainability, improved quality and accessibility of care.

Phase 1:
Phase 1 support meets the needs of centers that require substantial assistance to become regional
centers of excellence. This phase of support typically lasts 2-3 years. Children’s HeartLink invests substantial resources in site assessment visits, full-team training visits, and other types of interactions geared toward building relationships, understanding the partner hospital’s needs and goals, and making the most impact in a relatively short period of time.

Examples of guideposts, or interim measures, that may indicate a partner site’s readiness to
transition from Phase 1 to Phase 2 support include the following:

  • Quality measurement and tracking system in place and baselines established
  • Program planning capacity in place
  • Infection monitoring and prevention system in place
  • Infection rates stabilized or beginning to trend downward
  • Clinical skills assessment completed and needs identified
  • Organizational needs and capacities assessment completed and needs identified

Phase 2:
Phase 2 support is less resource intensive and more targeted. Phase 2 support is suitable for centers that are already fairly advanced and need only moderate assistance to become regional centers of excellence. This phase involves more individual consultant and small-team visits, targeted trainings and other interventions aimed at advancement. This phase typically lasts 2-3 years. 

Examples of interim measures that may indicate a partner hospital’s readiness to transition from Phase 2 to Phase 3 include:

  • Measurable reductions in infection rates
  • Consistent improvement in other identified quality measures
  • Improved team communication and interaction
  • Dedicated pediatric cardiac ICU established
  • Development of specialized clinical skill sets in medical and nursing staff
  • Further progress in specific areas identified during Phase 1

Phase 3:
In Phase 3, we work with a partner site to help it become a regional training center called a Children's HeartLink Center of Excellence. Phase 3 support is suitable for centers that are well on their way to becoming regional centers of excellence in pediatric cardiac care. A center typically receives Phase 3 support for 2-3 years.

Children's HeartLink Center of Excellence is a status achieved by a partner hospital that demonstrates:

  • Significant reduction in infection rates and improvement in other quality measures
  • Demonstrated capacity of medical and nursing team to teach specialized skills, using both formal, didactic approach and hands-on, bedside approach
  • Staff capacity to organize and deliver formal training programs
  • Commitment to serving as a training center for the surrounding region


The Need.


Congenital heart disease is the most common birth defect, affecting one in 100 children. Only one in 10 children has access to care.

Passing on Lifesaving Knowledge

We work in concert with our dedicated medical volunteers, as well as governments and other organizations, to provide training, mentoring and capacity building opportunities designed to meet the unique needs of each partner hospital.