May 9, 2017

Each year, Texas Children’s produces an annual report spotlighting the breadth, depth and growth of our organization. The report typically is in the form of a book that is mailed out to tens of thousands of our health care peers, government and community leaders, donors and other internal and external constituents.

This year we have a new way to share our experiences that will reach you and anyone with whom you wish to share it – the Texas Children’s Hospital online Annual Report. The report went live this week and is a dynamic representation of our growth and success in 2016.

Throughout the site, you will find articles, pictures, videos and graphics that highlight our patients, staff and growth. You also can hear directly from our President and CEO Mark Wallace in a video address about our year and what’s to come.

Each section of the site – news, notes and numbers – gives you an opportunity to experience how and why Texas Children’s health care system continues to get bigger and even better.

“At Texas Children’s, we are so passionate about our work and our mission that it is easy to get swept up in the incredible pace at which we move, build and expand,” Wallace said. “We get a lot done in the span of one short year, and 2016 was no different.”

Read all about it at texaschildrensannualreport.org. Share the link to the online report with friends and colleagues, and encourage them to do the same.

May 4, 2017

With the help of physicians in interventional radiology, anesthesiology and pathology at Texas Children’s Hospital, children in Vietnam suffering from severe and debilitating vascular anomalies are getting the help they desperately need.

At the beginning of the year, a medical team from Texas Children’s traveled to the University of Medicine and Pharmacy Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam to examine and treat patients with vascular anomalies as well as to train medical staff at the University Hospital to perform certain life-altering procedures on their own.

The effort is an extension of the active collaboration between the Vietnam Vascular Anomalies Center (VAC) based in Ho Chi Minh City and the Global Pathology program at Texas Children’s Hospital, launched in 2013 by Dr. Thuy Phung, a pathologist and associate director of Texas Children’s Global Pathology. Global Pathology is based in the Department of Pathology, under the leadership of Texas Children’s Pathologist-in-Chief Dr. James Versalovic.

The Vietnam VAC was established in 2009 by Phung and a team of physicians at Harvard Medical School and Ho Chi Minh City. Its mission is to provide safe and effective humanitarian medical care for underserved Vietnamese children with vascular and pigmented birthmarks, and to promote active collaboration between Vietnamese and U.S. physicians to improve the health of these children.

“We have been thinking about and working on the formation of an interventional radiology team that can work with the Vietnam VAC for some time and feel that our initial efforts have been extremely successful,” Phung said. “The techniques that we are teaching physicians in Vietnam can make a huge difference in the lives of children with vascular anomalies.”

During the team’s week-long visit to Ho Chi Minh City in January, members worked with and trained a local clinical team led by Dr. Tran Quoc Tuan, an interventional neuroradiologist at the University of Medicine and Pharmacy Hospital. Together, they evaluated and consulted on 38 adult and pediatric patients, providing recommendations on how to best manage their vascular anomalies. Of those patients, the clinical team selected 13 to treat using techniques such as embolization, which involves the injection of special medications into abnormal blood vessels under ultrasound and X-ray.

These treatments are common across the globe but can only be appropriately performed by highly trained medical professionals and require an experienced support team, such as a pediatric anesthesiologist, interventional radiologist, interventional radiology nurse practitioner and interventional radiology technologist proficient in the procedures. Texas Children’s brought all of the above to the Vietnam VAC, enabling several children, including a young boy whose vascular lesion was impeding his ability to breathe, to get the appropriate treatment and go home with a chance at a drastically improved life.

“This partnership has enabled us to train our clinical colleagues in Ho Chi Minh City to independently handle vascular anomaly patients and act as a referral center for the country,” said Texas Children’s interventional radiologist Dr. Sheena Pimpalwar. “Due to a large population of children in Vietnam who are affected by vascular anomalies and our ability to treat them in a multi-disciplinary fashion, this program has huge potential for growth.”

Texas Children’s pediatric anesthesiologist Dr. Helena Karlberg emphasized the importance of having a multi-disciplinary approach available to patients at the Vietnam VAC and described the role of the anesthesiologist as one that includes early planning of airway management in patients undergoing procedures of the head and neck regions, and monitoring for, and treatment of any adverse effects by agents used during vascular anomaly care.

“These rather specialized procedures require a great deal of expertise,” Karlberg said. “I am grateful for the opportunity to share my knowledge and experience assisting and instructing others to develop their own skills in caring for this group of patients.”

To ensure that patients receive the highest quality treatment, the Texas Children’s Hospital medical team plans on traveling to Vietnam each year to treat patients and to continue training the medical staff at the Vietnam VAC. In the meantime, the Texas Children’s team will consult with physicians in Vietnam on patient management via email, telephone and video conference.

Members of the Texas Children’s Hospital medical team that recently traveled to Vietnam include:

  • Dr. Alex Chau, interventional radiologist
  • Heather Cleveland, advanced clinical specialist and interventional radiology technologist
  • Dr. Helena Karlberg, pediatric anesthesiologist
  • Dr. Thuy Phung, associate director of Texas Children’s Global Pathology
  • Dr. Sheena Pimpalwar, interventional radiologist
  • Holly Phan Tran, vascular anomalies nurse practitioner
May 3, 2017

As a health care system, Texas Children’s believes that a critical component to offering outstanding clinical care is measuring the results of the care we deliver and doing our best to provide our patients and families with the safest environment possible.

“By tracking what we do, we learn about what happens to our patients, and we also learn about our performance as a health care delivery organization,” said Chief Safety Officer Dr. Joan Shook. “We know we can always do better and must continue to strive toward excellence in health care delivery.”

With that in mind, Texas Children’s has created a dedicated safety and outcomes website that parents can access directly from the Texas Children’s main landing page. The information on this page is organized into the following nationally recognized categories of quality measures:

  • Safe: Avoiding harm to patients from the care that is intended to help them.
  • Effective: Providing services based on scientific knowledge. This category also measures the outcomes of the care we provide.
  • Patient-centered: Providing care that is respectful of and responsive to individual patient preferences, needs and values and ensuring that patient values guide all clinical decisions.
  • Timely: Reducing wait times and harmful delays for both those who receive and those who give care.
  • Efficient: Avoiding waste, including waste of equipment, supplies, ideas and energy.

When possible, the website shows how Texas Children’s compares to other children’s hospitals in the United States in these categories. Where no good comparisons are available, the website illustrates how Texas Children’s compares to our own performance in the past, and how we measure up to our own goals.

Some of the topics and data reported include: hand-hygiene compliance, catheter associated blood stream infections, surgical site infections, death and complications within 30 days of surgery, patient experience, third next available appointment, patients leaving emergency care and transfer denials. Additional measures will be added over time.

For each measure, information is provided that lays out what parents can do to help Texas Children’s deliver the highest quality pediatric care. The website also includes links to our health system’s evidence-based guidelines. A distinctive feature of the website is an email address for readers who want to provide input on what additional information they would like to know and ways we can improve our website.

“We invite you to check out how we are doing and to share our outcomes with patients and their families,” Shook said. “We believe our patients and families deserve the most complete and accurate information possible about how we are doing as a health care system.”

Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women also has launched a safety and outcomes website. Click here for more information.

April 18, 2017

Opening day at Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands on April 11 was full of excitement and appreciation for Texas Children’s newest full-service community hospital.

The day began at 7 a.m. with the first of more than 20 surgical cases and a succession of ribbon cuttings at the hospital’s main clinical areas. View a photo gallery of the day’s events below.

“This is the second community hospital for Texas Children’s and we are so excited,” said Michelle Riley-Brown, president of Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands. “This hospital will allow us to expand even more access to high-quality pediatric care in the community.”

Located off of I-45 in The Woodlands near CHI St. Luke’s and Methodist hospitals, Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands will serve children and families in the Woodlands, Kingwood, Conroe, Spring, Magnolia, Humble, Huntsville and beyond, and will build on a decade’s worth of relationships Texas Children’s has built in the community through our primary and sub-specialty care at Texas Children’s Pediatrics locations and the Texas Children’s Health Center The Woodlands.

The 550,000-square-foot facility offers:

  • services in more than 20 areas of specialty care
  • 32 acute care beds
  • four operating rooms
  • 12 radiology rooms with two MRIs
  • an emergency center with 25 patient rooms
  • a helipad
  • 1,000 free parking spaces
  • 28 critical care rooms (14 NICU and 14 PICU)
  • neurophysiology sleep lab
  • EEG laboratory
  • state-of-the-art infusion center
  • dining area
  • family library
  • chapel
  • playrooms on every floor

“Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands is really a comprehensive, standalone children’s hospital that’s part of a larger system that provides care across the spectrum,” said Dr. Charles Hankins, chief medical officer at the new hospital.

Designed with a “spirit of the woods” theme to incorporate the lush, woodsy landscape that surrounds it, Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands offers an open and inviting setting for patients, families and staff alike.

Just inside the main entrance is a grand staircase that simulates a tree house, giving the area a safe, central location for children and families visiting Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands. As you travel throughout the campus, there are images of leaves on the ceiling, rivers on the floor and trees and 1,700 pieces of art created by children in The Woodlands community on the walls.

“A lot of planning and thought went into the design of this facility,” said Trent Johnson, director of business operations and support services in The Woodlands. “It’s focused completely on our patients.”

By the end of opening day, staff at Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands had treated more than 150 children seeking care at the new facility.

Opening day volume included:

  • 23 surgical cases completed
  • 41 radiology procedures
  • 6 infusion cases
  • 31 pathology lab draws
  • 42 emergency center visits
  • 2 NICU admissions
  • 1 PICU admission
  • 3 acute care admissions

Rebecca Vadala is a resident of The Woodlands and the mother of two twin girls who were transferred on opening day from the NICU at Main Campus to the one in The Woodlands.

“It’s huge for us to be able to be so close to home,” Vadala said. “We’re just tremendously grateful to be the first patients here; it’s really an honor.”

April 11, 2017

The day many have been waiting and preparing for is finally here! Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands opened its doors to the public this morning marking another milestone in Texas Children’s history.

The 550,000-square-foot inpatient facility is the second community hospital in the Texas Children’s system and will serve patients and families in The Woodlands and beyond. The hospital has been in the making for several years and is the product of many long hours of dedicated planning and preparation.

One of the last preparatory acts occurred on April 7 when members of the hospital’s leadership team joined Texas Children’s chaplains and representatives from various congregations throughout The Woodlands community to bless the hospital and its staff.

Texas Children’s Chaplain Pam Krinock began the blessing and prayer walk at the main entrance of the hospital with a few words of thanks and appreciation for the new facility as well as a request of peace for those who enter the building seeking care.

“Doors are a powerful symbol,” Krinock said as water and oil, symbolizing comfort and healing, were sprinkled on the hospital’s two main glass sliding doors. “We pray they will be a sign of welcome and comfort for all who enter here.”

The group proceeded to the Emergency Center, Acute Care Unit, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Operating Rooms, saying a prayer at each stop and blessing the areas and their staff with water and oil.

“We pray that comfort is provided to the families here, some of whom will be going through the toughest moments of their lives,” said Texas Children’s Chaplain Johnna Faber while the group was in the NICU. “We also pray for the staff who will hold and care for these children.”

The prayer walk ended in the hospital’s chapel, a serine, tucked away space highlighted by a floor to ceiling stained glass image of a lush forest dotted with deer and birds. Standing in front of the stained glass, four community clergyman representing the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths blessed the chapel with words of peace, comfort, healing and strength. Later that day, Texas Children’s chaplains blessed the hands of several staff members in the hospital lobby.

“It is very important what happened here today because anything that begins with God’s blessing, goes well,” said Rev. Jayaraj Jones of St. Anthony of Padua in The Woodlands.

Al Caberra, the Texas Children’s chaplain who will be providing spiritual care in The Woodlands, agreed and said he looks forward to working with community clergy to provide spiritual care to patients and their families.

“We consider you part of our community and an extension of our chaplaincy program,” he said. “We want you to always feel welcome here and know we are extremely grateful for the added peace and comfort you will bring.”

Stay tuned for full coverage of the first day at the new Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands.

April 4, 2017

Hundreds of employees with Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands recently poured into the grand lobby of the new hospital for a day-long employee orientation that covered everything from welcoming remarks by hospital leadership to expectations regarding emergency preparedness, patient experience and quality and safety protocols.

The doors of the new 550,000-square-foot building will open its doors to the public on Tuesday, April 11. The recent orientation sessions mark the near end of a long and thorough preparation process leaders and staff have undergone to ready themselves to serve the patients and families of The Woodlands and surrounding communities north of Houston.

“Opening day is almost here and I feel confident that we have done everything in our power to prepare ourselves and the entire Texas Children’s system for what will be a monumental day in our service to patients and their families,” said Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands President and Texas Children’s Executive Vice President Michelle Riley-Brown. “Our efforts have spanned many topics but have consistently focused on quality, safety and the overall patient experience people will have when they arrive at our doorstep for care.”

During the past year, more than 600 employees and providers who will staff the new hospital have been involved in one or more of the following initiatives to prepare themselves as a team to serve the thousands of patients and families expected to seek high quality care and pediatric services in their community from Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands.

Connections: The Experience and The Vision: All Woodlands employees, physician partners, and leadership completed two courses focused on hardwiring a culture based on both the patient and the employee experience. The goal of these sessions is to build on the existing Texas Children’s core values of living compassionately, amplifying unity, embracing freedom and leading tirelessly. In addition, the sessions aspire to establish behaviors that unify Woodlands employees as a team and leave patients and families feeling connected to the new hospital and staff as their healthcare provider.

Breakthrough Communications: Eighty physicians and advanced practice providers completed this Texas Children’s Hospital led physician communication course focusing on enhancing the conversation and dialogue between patients, families and caregivers.

Error Prevention Training: Hundreds of providers and staff working at The Woodlands campus took this three-hour class taught by members of the Texas Children’s Quality and Safety Department and trained Woodlands campus instructors. The course focused on sustaining a culture of safety and strategies for reducing medical errors and serious safety events.

Provider Orientation: The entire medical staff have either attended or is scheduled to attend provider-dedicated sessions focusing on operational details specific to The Woodlands campus. Training includes topics such as emergency response, community outreach, personal safety and security, environmental safety, quality metrics, new equipment training, useful communication tools and resources for providers, and a hospital tour.

Advanced Quality Improvement (AQI) Boot Camp: A group of about 40 leaders and medical providers attended this intense program aimed at improving care delivery and quality of care. The training occurred over three days and was based on a national patient safety training program that has shown significant improvement in patient outcomes.

Simulation Training: The leadership team at Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands partnered with the Texas Children’s Hospital Simulation Center to design and facilitate a robust simulation training for the care teams and testing of the hospital environment. Using advanced technology and equipment to create life-like scenarios ranging from routine patient care to emergency code situations, the simulations allowed providers, staff, and even family members to respond as a team and test the hospital’s systems, environmental layout, and processes. The scenarios were recorded on video, allowing hospital leaders to review the training exercises and make any necessary adjustments before opening the hospital.

Emergency Management Drills: Texas Children’s Hospital, in partnership with the Montgomery County Sherriff’s office, University of Texas Police Houston, the Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management, and Houston Police Department, have conducted two active shooter exercises at Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands. The purpose of the exercises was to test the emergency notification procedures, train staff to respond to an active shooter, and give our law enforcement partners a chance to practice their tactical response to an active shooter in the new building.

In addition to these formal training programs, leaders, physicians and staff have been meeting weekly to discuss things such as system optimizations, scopes of service, workflows, staff onboarding, teambuilding and more. Everyone involved has been working collaboratively to ensure we transition smoothly into operations on April 11, said Director of Patient Care Services Ketrese White.

“We have a unique opportunity to provide world class dedicated pediatric care to this community and surrounding communities nestled in the North,” White said. “We are excited to see the positive impact we will make in this community.”

Located off of I-45 in The Woodlands, Texas Children’s Hospital the Woodlands will serve children and families in the Woodlands, Kingwood, Conroe, Spring, Magnolia, Humble, Huntsville and beyond. The new hospital will build on a decade’s worth of relationships Texas Children’s has built in the community through our primary and sub-specialty care services offered at Texas Children’s Pediatrics locations and the Texas Children’s Health Center The Woodlands.

The hospital will offer services in more than 20 areas of specialty care at a state of the art facility with 32 acute care beds, four operating rooms, 12 radiology rooms with two MRIs, an emergency center with 25 patient rooms, a sleep center, a helipad, 1,000 free parking spaces and 28 critical care rooms (14 NICU and 14 PICU). Patients will receive expert care from highly skilled clinicians, and may also benefit from support services such as translation services, child life specialists, social work, care management, chaplains, volunteer services, and patient/family advocacy.

Texas Children’s Marketing team created a beautifully designed website commemorating the five-year anniversary of the opening of Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women.

A few months prior to the hospital’s 5-year milestone, the Marketing team – Internal Communications, Public Relations and Web – collaborated with the Pavilion for Women Administration team to develop the content for the website.

Click here to visit the new website.

“To celebrate the hospital’s first-year anniversary, we featured Molly Struzik posing with her first birthday cake,” Marketing Specialist Emily Lamport said. “Leveraging on this concept, we decided to feature Molly again to show just how much she has grown in five years to parallel the 5-year growth and success achieved at the Pavilion for Women.”

The 5-year anniversary website contains other commemorative elements:

  • Five-year timeline spotlighting Pavilion for Women key milestones
  • By the Numbers
  • Photo gallery
  • Video reflections of what the Pavilion for Women means today

The successful completion of this project would not have been possible without the collaboration from our talented Creative Services team, who meticulously designed the website, and our photographers who provided the compelling imagery for the website.

“As part of our Pavilion for Women 5-year anniversary marketing campaign, we used multiple vehicles to drive traffic to the website including print ads and social media posts,” said Lisa Yelenick, director of Service Line, Community and Brand Marketing.