A little over a year ago, Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands Outpatient Building opened its doors to the Greater Houston area and beyond. Since then, the ever-growing team of providers and support staff have seen 50,000 plus patients in the outpatient areas and received numerous compliments from the patients and family members they serve.
“Our first year has been packed with many new and exciting opportunities,” said Julie Barrett, director of outpatient and clinical support services for the Outpatient Building. “We have grown substantially, adding new service lines, providers and staff, and we have established a culture that exemplifies our mission to provide the best possible care for our patients and their families.”
Designed with a “spirit of the woods” theme to incorporate the lush, woodsy landscape that surrounds it, the six-floor, 209,973-square-foot Outpatient Building opened in October 2016 housing almost 20 areas of specialized care including cardiology, sports medicine, neurology and hematology/oncology. A dedicated medical staff at the facility works in conjunction with the Texas Children’s system to provide top-notch medical care.
Connected to the almost year-old Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands on floors one and two, the Outpatient Building offers a fresh, new kid-friendly environment to families seeking the best pediatric care for their children. A state-of-the art sports physical therapy gym is on the first floor, check-in and check-out stations resembling a child’s club house are at the entrance of each clinic, and spacious exam rooms and provider work stations line many of the building’s halls.
Susan Niles, a senior athletic trainer with Sports Medicine, said the Outpatient Building’s Sports Medicine staff has grown substantially since it starting seeing patients a year ago, adding nurses, physical therapists, athletic trainers and a sports dietitian. Such growth has allowed the staff to provide quicker access to therapy services, Niles said. It also has provided opportunities for research.
“Using technology from the motion analysis lab, we have launched a research project that we hope will provide breakthrough information on concussions,” Niles said. “We are the only campus with a motion analysis lab and we are excited to use the technology for our patients.”
Ambulatory Services Therapy Manager Jay Mennel said another unique service offered in The Woodlands comes by way of an Alter-G treadmill, an anti-gravity treadmill utilized by sports therapy patients, he said. Such a specialized service combined with other specialty clinics led to the therapy staff completing more than 18,000 outpatient visits during the Outpatient Building’s first year in operation.
“We have some fantastic physicians and great senior leadership at The Woodlands, which has helped our department grow at an exceptional rate,” Mennel said. “We hope to continue to grow this next fiscal year.”
Heather Jordan, a staff nurse in Outpatient Surgical Services, Melanie Garcia, a medical assistant with Plastic Surgery, and Yvonne Barham a staff nurse with Diabetes and Endocrine, all said they have seen tremendous growth in their areas and that they have seen patients from all over Texas and surrounding states.
“Our patients have come from Nacogdoches, Lufkin, Bryan/College Station, Corpus Christi, Port Arthur, and Louisiana,” Barham said. “Many of the local residents have stated how happy they are to not have to travel for their regular office visits.”
Garcia agreed and said patient experience is something that everyone at The Woodlands Outpatient Building takes to heart. “We go above and beyond on a daily basis to make sure every patient feels special,” she said. “We are always improving, always compassionately serving each other and our patients.”
When asked what’s next, leaders, providers and staff point to continued growth and involvement in The Woodlands community.
“Now that we are here and have established workflows, processes and procedures, we can begin to work on things such as more access to patients and families, and staff being more involved in the community,” said Shawnda Kelley, ambulatory manager of various service lines at the Outpatient Building. “I am happy and proud to be a part of this new beginning and can’t wait to see what’s next.”