November 15, 2016

111616newpfwwebsite350In case you haven’t already noticed, the websites for Texas Children’s Hospital and Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women have a new look and feel.

Sporting bright colors, vibrant photographs and iconography, the websites have been redesigned to better reflect Texas Children’s branding and marketing materials. The websites also have been revamped to incorporate best practices and user study feedback.

New features of the websites include:

  • A new content management system that allows for quicker, more timely updates
  • Incorporated branding (pictures, colors, icons) to match Texas Children’s current marketing material
  • Reorganized navigation based on usage data/analytics so that visitors can easily find the most searched-after content
  • Revamped website search that provides more accurate results
  • Improved responsiveness on mobile/tablet devices
  • New online health libraries provides valuable information to current/prospective patients as well as assists with search results through Google, Bing and other search engines.

Both websites have seen tremendous traffic with the Texas Children’s Hospital website garnering almost 6 million page views this year from 1.3 million different users and the Pavilion for Women website receiving 1.2 million views from 411,000 users. In addition, statistics have shown improvement in the amount of page views, average load time and bounce rate.

Work on Texas Children’s websites will continue with a new face and feel for Texas Children’s Pediatrics and Texas Children’s Urgent Care coming soon. A new safety and outcomes page also will be unveiled, offering our patients and their families the most complete and accurate information possible about how we are doing as a health care system.

Click here to see the new look of the Texas Children’s Hospital website and here to get a feel for the new website for the Pavilion for Women.

The web team would like to hear your feedback and answer any questions you might have about our new websites. Please direct your comments to tmmorri1@texaschildrens.org.

November 1, 2016

11216drgeorgeverghese175Texas Children’s is proud to announce Dr. Verghese George as the new division chief of women’s radiology at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women.

George, who also serves as associate professor of Radiology at Baylor College of Medicine, received his medical degree from the Armed Forces Medical College in India. After completing four years of residency training in Obstetrics and Gynecology in India and the United Kingdom, he pursued residency training in Diagnostic Radiology at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom. Subsequent to this, he moved to the U.S., and completed three fellowships: Abdominal Imaging (University of Washington), Body MRI (Yale University) and Nuclear Radiology (Yale University).

As new division chief of women’s radiology, George will merge his prior Ob/Gyn training with his clinical interest in Women’s imaging. His research interests include placental and pelvic floor imaging, and imaging of chronic pelvic pain including pelvic congestion syndrome and vulvodynia. His work focuses on multimodality abdominopelvic radiology in the adult population.

October 18, 2016

101916babybistro640As a nationally designated Baby Friendly Hospital, Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women offers many helpful services to patients and employees to support them during their breastfeeding journey.

For Veronika Javor, choosing to exclusively provide breast milk to her babies during their first year of life was an important commitment. To ensure her now 3-year-old daughter, Harper, and 1-year-old son, Lincoln, both born at the Pavilion for Women, continued to receive the nutritional health benefits of being fed her breast milk, she had to overcome several challenges. She credits the supportive environment at Texas Children’s as one reason why she was able to continue pumping when she returned to work.

“Having a place where you can both pump and rent a pump, right where you work, is incredible,” said Javor, a senior public relations specialist at Texas Children’s. “On numerous occasions, I have had busy days with media shoots and meetings at the hospital, and the Baby Bistro has always opened their door to me and allowed me to use one of their lactation rooms to pump between my meetings.”

Conveniently located inside the Bella Luna Boutique on the third floor of the Pavilion for Women, the Baby Bistro offers lactation support services to nursing mothers, including breast pump rentals. Employees pay a monthly rental fee just like everyone else does but they have the opportunity to get reimbursed through Texas Children’s Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) insurance provider.

Under the BCBS plan, Texas Children’s employees can select a single-user breast pump that is mailed directly to them or receive reimbursement for the rental of a hospital grade rental pump. Since the insurance plan does not cover both options, it is important to determine which breast pump is appropriate based on one’s personal preference and breastfeeding needs.

“For moms returning from maternity leave, remembering to pack a breast pump may not always be top of mind,” said Gina Marrinucci, manager of Retail and Concierge Services at the Pavilion for Women. “Our services are here to help them during their pumping journey. Besides the Baby Bistro, employees can also take advantage of several other employee pumping locations throughout the Pavilion for Women and in West Tower to meet their breastfeeding goals.”

In addition to these services, one-on-one consultations with board certified lactation consultants are available at the Baby Bistro to help new mothers learn the breastfeeding basics, how to overcome breastfeeding challenges such as latching issues, and develop strategies to achieve their breastfeeding goals. There is a fee for this service and appointments should be scheduled by calling Baby Bistro at Ext. 6-8881.

“Pumping for your baby is a huge commitment and it’s great to have access to the tools and support to make it easier,” Javor said. “I hear so many mothers facing challenges in the workplace over having to express milk and I am grateful to work for an organization that both values this important job and facilitates the process.”

Texas Children’s commitment to providing lactation support for both patients and employees is one of the many reasons why the Pavilion for Women is a Baby Friendly Hospital. This coveted designation means Texas Children’s is providing the highest level of care related to breastfeeding education, instruction and support to our patients. For a summary of our breastfeeding initiatives, including a link to Baby Friendly USA, read this Connect article.

For a list of employee pumping locations at the Pavilion for Women and West Tower, click here.

For other breastfeeding and lactation support services at the Pavilion for Women, including how to donate excess breast milk to the Mother’s Milk Bank to support critically ill babies in the Newborn Center, click here.

October 11, 2016

101216modinside640When Leanne O’Brien glances down at her healthy 18-month-old twins, Remy and Ronan, she knows their lives are nothing short of a miracle. Born nearly 28 weeks premature as a result of severe preeclampsia, her twins spent the first four and a half months of their young lives at Texas Children’s Newborn Center.

“As soon as they were born, the NICU team took care of our babies who each weighed between two and three pounds,” said O’Brien, assistant director of IS Customer Service at Texas Children’s. “They immediately went to NICU 3, then we went to NICU 4 for PDA closures to treat a congenital heart defect and then to NICU 2 until our babies were well enough to come home.”

At the time, O’Brien didn’t know much about the causes and complications of infant prematurity. After her family’s NICU journey, she decided to do something she’d never done before – participate in the March for Babies Walk with her husband and their twins, and her mom and sister on behalf of Texas Children’s to support other NICU families who have encountered similarly challenging situations.

“I wanted to use my voice and share my testimony to help pregnant women and families wherever and however I can,” O’Brien said. “Participating in the walk was a pretty emotional day for me. I thought about all of what my family and my kids went through and how blessed we are to be here today. But I also thought about the families and babies who are currently fighting and all the babies who lost their fight.”

With the generous support from O’Brien and other Texas Children’s employees and their families, Texas Children’s was recently honored as the top corporate team in Houston to raise nearly $180,000 in total funds for the March of Dimes based on corporate sponsorship and employee and team fundraising.

“Of the Top 50 participating teams, we are thrilled to see Texas Children’s Hospital take the number one spot in Houston for the first time,” said Darcie Wells, executive director of the March of Dimes Foundation of Greater Houston. “We thank Texas Children’s leaders and employees for their incredible efforts for moms and babies.”

Several months prior to the March for Babies walk, departments and units from across the organization formed their own teams to help raise money and rally support around this worthy cause. Teams hosted barbecues, designed and sold t-shirts, held bake sales, arranged bike tours and even paid to give their leaders a pie in the face to raise money and awareness. Each of the 63 teams raised an average of $1,476, all of which helped Texas Children’s exceed this year’s fundraising goal of $120,000.

“Since 1984, Texas Children’s and Baylor College of Medicine have received more than $16 million from the March of Dimes to support research to prevent birth defects and prematurity,” said Cris Daskevich, senior vice president at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women. “Our long-term partnership has helped significantly improve outcomes and quality of life for some of our most fragile babies – giving hope to patients and families when there once was none.”

O’Brien encourages everyone thinking about participating in next year’s walk to help support the March of Dimes. “It is such an amazing cause, and by donating or walking, you can help give every baby a fighting chance,” O’Brien said.

The March of Dimes will officially celebrate the Top 10 Teams at a citywide kickoff of its 2017 campaign on February 8, 2017.

Click here to watch the slideshow of the 2016 March for Babies Walk.

September 20, 2016

92116languageservices640For non-English speaking families like Argelia Diaz, she knows that when she comes to Texas Children’s, she can always count on a Spanish-speaking interpreter to help her communicate with her daughter’s medical team.

“I don’t know what I would do without them,” Diaz said through her interpreter. “They give us all the information that the providers want to tell us and help break down the medical terms for us. They are very kind and are always there whenever we need them.”

As an internationally recognized referral center, Texas Children’s cares for many international patients including those here at home who do not speak English. These patient families rely solely on the skills and expertise of Texas Children’s Language Services Department to bridge the communication barrier.

“Language barriers have the potential to adversely impact patient care and outcomes,” said Language Services Manager Alma Sanchez. “Issues like misdiagnosis, lack of compliance, medical errors and readmissions can all be further compounded when a patient has limited English proficiency. Communicating with them in their preferred language ensures everyone is on the same page regarding the care and treatment of the patient.”

Being an interpreter at Texas Children’s is more than just speaking a foreign language fluently. As the primary liaison between the physician and patient, interpreters ensure accurate and seamless communication is delivered to both parties during every phase of the health care process. Specially trained in diverse areas including medical terminology, modes and standards of interpretation, standards of ethics and intercultural communication, interpreters also serve as a cultural broker in the communication of information since there are many factors that may impede a patient or family’s clear understanding of a medical diagnosis or treatment plan.

“While speaking in the family’s native language, we explain their child’s diagnosis and ensure they understand all of the instructions provided by their care team,” said Violeta Riccio, project analyst at Language Services. “We also help the providers understand the patient’s concerns or questions in order to resolve any potential issues.”

On average, the Language Services Department receives 12,000 language requests per month – 4,000 are in-person interpretations, 7,000 are telephonic and 1,000 are through a mobile video system called My Accessible Real Time Trusted Interpreter (MARTTI) where an external interpreter can be contacted via live video. These capabilities enable Texas Children’s to provide interpretations in about 170 different languages.

To meet the growing demand for this service, Texas Children’s has 28 interpreters dispersed across several campuses – 17 at Texas Children’s Main Campus, five at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus, four at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women and two interpreters at Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands. Spanish is the most requested language for interpretation followed by Arabic, Vietnamese and Chinese-Mandarin.

Just like our patient families, Texas Children’s health care teams benefit greatly from this service too.

“Having an interpreter physically present is crucial to effective communication particularly in stressful situations when children are undergoing procedures or when critical information is being conveyed,” said Dr. Larry Hollier, chief of plastic surgery at Texas Children’s. “Having an onsite interpreter in the ambulatory surgery area has been transformative in terms of family satisfaction and the efficient and safe flow of children through the area.”

To learn more about Language Services, drop by their office located on the third floor of West Tower across from the gift shop. Click here to watch a video spotlighting a day in the life of interpreters at Texas Children’s.

July 19, 2016

72016fetalconference640The International Fetal Medicine and Surgery Society (IFMSS) led by co-presidents Doctors Oluyinka and Olutoyin Olutoye, will convene for its annual meeting in Kasane, Botswana from August 2 to 7, 2016. This is the second time the meeting has been held on the African continent in the society’s 35-year history.

The IFMSS is an international gathering of fetal medicine practitioners from all over the world,” said Dr. Oluyinka Olutoye, co-director of Texas Children’s Fetal Center. “The annual meeting is the forum where innovations in fetal therapy are discussed even prior to general dissemination.”

Topics that will be discussed at the meeting include updates on the management of fetuses with spina bifida, innovative therapies for congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH), advances in the management of complex twin problems, as well as topics on ethics, anesthesia, genetics, cardiology, diagnostics, neonatal care and long-term outcomes amongst others.

Anesthesiologist-in-Chief Dr. Dean Andropoulos is one of the invited keynote speakers. The other keynote speaker is the Executive Director of the BIPAI Center of Excellence in Botswana, Prof. Gabriel Anabwani. Other Texas Children’s physician attendees include Dr. Darrell Cass, co-director of the Fetal Center, who will present the hospital’s experience with the management of CDH, Texas Children’s neurosurgeon Dr. William Whitehead who will deliver a presentation on the fetal management of spina bifida and Texas Children’s maternal-fetal medicine specialist Dr. Alireza Shamshirsaz who will present on fetal intervention for non-immune hydrops.

Other meeting attendees include Drs. Karolina Adam and Joanie Hare of Houston Perinatal Associates, and research fellows Drs. Stephanie Cruz and Patricio Lau who will also present at the meeting and are two of the seven recipients of the young investigator travel award. Kristen Kaiser, PhD, of Texas Children’s Pediatric Surgery Division together with Adam Gibson and Taylor Napier Earle of Texas Children’s Global Health have graciously provided administrative and logistical support for this international meeting.

In addition to the IFMSS meeting in Kasane, Botswana, a pre-meeting symposium will be held in conjunction with the Botswana Pediatric Association and the University of Botswana in the capital city, Gaborone, Botswana from July 31 to August 1. This symposium, also involving international speakers, will address issues in prenatal diagnosis, pediatric anesthesiology, obstetrics, pediatric surgery, cardiology and critical care, and is targeted at Botswana physicians not involved in fetal therapy.

“Serving as co-presidents of an international society is an honor and privilege,” said Dr. Olutoyin Olutoye, director of the Fetal Anesthesia Service at Texas Children’s. “It acknowledges our participation in the society’s activities over the years, reflects our contributions to the field, and places Texas Children’s and Baylor College of Medicine amongst elite institutions whose faculty have led such a prestigious organization.”

The logo for the 35th IFMSS meeting was designed by Beth Sumner of Texas Children’s Department of Surgery, with inspiration from the co-presidents. The elephant acknowledges the region of Botswana where the meeting will be held, which is home to the largest concentration of elephants in the world. The fetus encased in the elephant trunk acknowledges the care of the fetus that is the focus of the meeting.

July 6, 2016

7616zikaclinic640Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women recently opened a Zika clinic to ensure women, mothers and babies continue to receive the highest quality health care during every important stage of their lives.

Located on the third floor of the Pavilion for Women in the Baylor Ob/Gyn clinic, the Zika clinic focuses on women who have traveled to Zika-affected countries, have shown symptoms of the Zika virus or have partners who have traveled to Zika-affected countries and/or have shown symptoms of the Zika virus.

Zika is transmitted primarily through mosquito bites. In recent months, the virus has heightened concern among pregnant women since the virus may increase the risk of microcephaly, a rare neurological birth defect that causes babies to be born with abnormally small heads.

“It’s very important that we have a Zika clinic here at the Pavilion for Women,” said Dr. Kjersti Aagaard, a Maternal-Fetal Medicine physician and vice chair for Research in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Texas Children’s and Baylor College of Medicine. “In an emerging disease, where new evidence arises daily, having a dedicated group of providers who can keep up with large amounts of crucial information, understand what testing to perform, and discern clinically important information and how to readily apply it are critically important.”

In addition to blood, urine and amniotic fluid tests and counseling, the clinic offers a targeted diagnostic ultrasound that can be performed as early as 15 weeks into pregnancy to determine if there are any concerning developmental signs for Zika infection in a fetus. Physicians and staff at the clinic are thoroughly prepared to safely and confidently treat any patient who exhibits symptoms of the Zika virus.

The Zika clinic is a direct outcome of a recently created task force that convened earlier this year. Under the guidance of Texas Children’s Ob/Gyn-in-Chief Dr. Michael Belfort and Maternal Fetal Medicine Division Director Dr. Gary Dildy, a task force of physicians and researchers from Baylor and Texas Children’s have developed management and research strategies based on important screening criteria outlined by the Centers for Disease Control for pregnant women who may have been exposed to the Zika virus. This task force has been led by Aagaard alongside Drs. Carey Eppes and Martha Rac.

The Zika clinic sees patients on Friday mornings from 8 a.m. to noon. The clinic is staffed by one registered nurse, one medical assistant and the physician team includes Drs. Eppes, Aagaard, Rac and Magda Sanz Cortes.

The clinic will initially see patients who are internally referred by either Baylor Ob/Gyn, Partners in Ob/Gyn Care or The Women’s Specialists providers. Patient referrals to the Zika clinic from outside physicians will be accepted and expanded this summer once internal patient volume demands are addressed.

Recent Connect articles related to Zika:
Senator Cornyn visits Texas Children’s to attend roundtable on Zika virus
Zika virus cases surface in Texas, travelers to epidemic regions most at risk