October 29, 2019

This fiscal year The West Campus Quality, Innovation, and Research Strategic Imperative team implemented two unique and informative events to engage and educate staff and providers on the importance of quality improvement work and its impact on improving patient care and outcomes.

“It stemmed from the four strategic imperatives for the organization, one of them being research quality and innovation,” Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus Assistant Vice-President Matt Timmons said. “It’s really about awareness, and a celebration of the improvements that were made over the last year.”

On August 29, dozens of employees from all disciplines attended West Campus’ Quality Boot camp which was geared toward enhancing their Quality Improvement (QI) knowledge and skills through an interactive education session applying the Institute of Healthcare Improvement’s quality tools listed below:

  • A Cause and Effect Diagram that helps you analyze the root causes contributing to an outcome.
  • Failure Modes and Effects Analysis, which is a systematic, proactive method for identifying potential risks and their impact.
  • Run Charts and Control Charts that help monitor performance and visualize variation.
  • The Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) worksheet that helps teams assess whether a change leads to improvement using a methodical learning process.

“I appreciate going through the steps as a group and then getting to apply the knowledge for our own project,” a participant commented in a follow up survey.

In addition to the boot camp, on October 10, West Campus hosted a Quality Showcase. This event gathered West Campus staff and providers to listen and discuss visual presentations that highlighted innovative solutions through quality projects that have had a positive impact on patient care, outcomes, and access

In alignment with the organization’s strategic requirements, the West Campus leadership developed these efforts to inform, motivate, and execute quality effectively.

“You have to practice quality,” Texas Children’s West Campus Assistant Director of Respiratory Care Clinic, Gboly Harris said. “With this initiative we want to ensure that everyone is aware of quality practices to ultimately improve outcomes for patients.”

Upon providing background information each presenter was asked to set sustainable goals in their areas, document the outcomes and preventative steps, and effectively expound on their model of care. Below are the 10 quality project focuses presented at the showcase:

  • Expanding West capacity through innovative solutions and transformational leaders
  • Preventing unplanned extubations together
  • Depression screening of inflammatory bowel disease patients
  • Alarm Fatigue
  • Standardizing ear, nose, and throat (ENT) education, post-op care of otolaryngology patients in acute care
  • MyChart activations
  • Swarm into sepsis: A collaborative approach in a pediatric community emergency center decreasing appointment no-show rates
  • Gastrostomy outcomes and improvement project and registered nurse training
  • Direct Admit Patient Project
  • Decreasing Appointment No Show Rates

“This showcase was encouraging to see people in their element, creating projects that they feel would be beneficial to other departments to have better quality of care for our patients,” Clinical Lead in Pediatric Surgical Services Caitlin Justus said. “Being able to have the opportunity to collaborate with others to gain tips on how we can succeed in our respective areas was very helpful.”

Following the showcase, Chief Quality Officer Dr. Eric Williams provided a few words to recap the information that was presented along with motivating employees to continue overcoming risk, meeting national guidelines and adopt other strategies they may have learned during those two hours.

“Patient safety is a large part of patient experience,” Williams said. “You cannot manage quality from one central space. It starts with your areas successfully providing tools to the rest of the campus that can ultimately enhance quality throughout the organization.”

Click here to learn more about each quality project.

The West Campus Security Department has recently added an autonomous employee to their team. Texas Children’s is always looking for new and innovative ways to improve patient experience, and with the advancement of technology, the possibilities are endless. The new security robot has officially been deployed, and can be seen roaming the West Campus parking lots.

“I am extremely excited. This has been a team effort from the very first day,” West Campus Security Manager Rick Robertson said. “West campus leadership has been supportive of our efforts from the beginning to help this happen. I’m very grateful for everyone’s efforts in this regard. I think it’s another example of how Texas Children’s Hospital is willing to go the extra mile and do the things that we need to do to provide for everyone’s safety and security.”

The robot is not a replacement for security officers, but a tool they can use to help strengthen security tactics. Houston Police Department says that they are going to continue to work closely with the hospital and provide any additional support needed.

“Texas Children goes above and beyond to make its patients and employees feel safe,” Houston Police Department Northwest Patrol Division Commander Frank Fernandez said. “This is just another example of that. It frees up officers and security officers from doing some of the more regular routine tasks to be able to respond to something if an emergency happens.”

The security robot is over five feet tall, weighs 400 pounds, and is equipped with lights, sound, and a patient friendly design that can be seen anywhere in the parking lot. In addition, the robot has 360-degree cameras, an intercom, heat detection, license plate recognition, a siren, and a strobe light.

View a gallery of photos below.

The robot was provided by Knightscope, a security technology company that was founded in 2013 and is headquartered in Mountain View, California. The goal of Knightscope is to reduce crime and improve public safety by designing, building and deploying Autonomous Data Machines, which are used to monitor malls, parking lots, and neighborhoods, and in our case, children’s hospitals.

“Hospitals are one of our fastest-growing segments and Children’s is one of the leading innovators in Texas,” Executive Vice President and Chief Client Officer Stacy Stephens said. “When we started Knightscope in 2013, we dreamed of reducing crime by up to 50 percent anywhere we deployed a robot in five to ten years. Never in our wildest dreams did we imagine that within a couple of years, we would have clients reporting back to us a 100 percent reduction in crime.”

Prior to the official deployment, there was a two-week installation process. This also included setting up charging stations, and giving the robot the freedom to roam the outpatient parking lot and become more familiar with its future work environment when it’s time to patrol alone.

“It’s all very intuitive,” Knightscope Robot Deployment Lead Daniel Coleman said. “Security Officers receive information through the robot’s included browser-based user interface and they’re able to determine everything about the robot – where it’s going, what patrol zone it’s currently patrolling, the battery life percentage – all of these and more are all viewable on a computer, laptop or mobile device.”

This robot is brand new to the Texas Children’s system and is a pilot program for the organization. If the program is successful we may see more Texas Children’s Hospital deployments to not only protect and serve, but also bring joy to patients and their families.

“We’ve already seen that our children are very excited about it and want to come up and say hello to the robot,” Robertson said. “I think that’s something that your typical security devices don’t bring to the table, an effective security tool that’s child friendly and fun! We’ve already had a naming contest that involved our patients, families and staff. ROSIE was chosen as our new team members name in a very close vote. We look forward to working with her.”

August 20, 2019

Walking the halls of Texas Children’s you may see someone in a red vest offering assistance or providing some type of support. Those are our volunteers, who have played an important role in the organization’s success since day one.

This summer The Woodlands Campus adopted the junior volunteer program to offer opportunities to teenagers and provide more support for patient care.

The volunteer program began when Texas Children’s opened its doors in 1954. Over the years the program has expanded to over 800 diverse active Auxiliary members who support patients, families and hospital staff.

“The role of the volunteer has really changed over the decades,” Assistant Vice President, Clinical Support and Research Administration, Paige Schulz said. “One of the things that’s really significantly changed is originally it was only women that volunteered at Texas Children’s. And then that was from the ‘50s really until the ‘80s, and then men started volunteering a lot more with our organization.”

Click below to view a video about the system-wide junior volunteer program.

In 2017, West Campus began their junior volunteer program based off of several requests from the Katy community. As the campus grew over the years, so did the need for a program.

“The juniors make a big difference in the patient’s experience in the hospital,” West Campus Senior Volunteer Coordinator Nora Lopez said. “When the patient comes in and they go to visit the doctor, they are scared. So if they play with someone before they are seen by the doctor, or nurse, or prior to any procedure or surgery, the patient is most likely in a better mood. So it’s a win, win situation and it makes a big difference in the hospital.”

The Woodlands Volunteer Services Department selected 12 high school students with an interest in working in the healthcare field to engage in tasks that enhances patient experience, whether it is providing games for them to play, snacks like popcorn and tea, or just having someone to talk to their age.

“The best part is their energy. They bring an enormous amount of energy to the hospital and their energy is contagious and it’s been so wonderful to have that contagious positive energy around the hospital,” The Woodlands Senior Volunteer Coordinator Zett Small said. “We are grateful to have the best, brightest, and most talented kids volunteering with us.”

Anvi Sana is a 16-year-old aspiring pediatrician who has always dreamed of working at Texas Children’s. The summer junior volunteer opportunity at The Woodlands combined her love for kids and thirst for the knowledge of health care. Sana expressed how much of a learning experience volunteering was and why it is beneficial for someone her age.

“I think as a teenager it teaches you a lot about the different kinds of people that you’re going to run into in a hospital,” Sana said. “I think doing a program like this as a teenager kind of opens up your eyes to the number of different people that you’re going to see or come across when you’re working in a hospital.

Being a volunteer at Texas Children’s is not just a job it is an experience for all ages, and backgrounds with endless possibilities.

“What I like to say about the volunteers are that they are the heart and soul of this organization,” Schulz said. “I’m excited about just the opportunity for us to expand beyond what maybe is a traditional volunteer assignment.”

Click here for information about the volunteer program.

August 13, 2019

This year the tremendously anticipated Camp For All 2U event debuted at Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands. For the first time patients and their families were able to experience summer camp in all hospitals this summer.

Camp For All 2U is a unique, barrier-free camp that brings the same eventful camping experience to patients and their siblings. Many patients may have missed out on those valuable experiences because they are in the hospital.

“We were thrilled to bring Camp For All 2U here for our patients and families in this community,” Cynda Parrish. “The main goal is to bring fun and normalization to our patients and families here. To have the opportunity to engage in camp-like activities instead of just sitting around at home or in their hospital rooms is exciting.”

For a week in June and July the program transformed areas of hospitals into camp spaces providing patients, who may not get the experience of camp outside of the hospital, the opportunity to enjoy a variety of games and activities.

Canoeing and the pie throwing events are a favorite at the Medical Center Campus every year, and West Campus introduced a robotics activity that engaged patients in a whole new way. The Woodlands campus provided activities including a mad science experiment, canoeing, arts and crafts and a hospital favorite, horses!

The horses were brought to The Woodlands hospital by a local organization called Inspiration Ranch which provides therapy horses with a similar purpose as our therapy dogs. Patients were invited to pet and paint on the horses, and ultimately enjoy a moment that maybe rare for most of them.

Inspiration Ranch is a Premiere Accredited Center through the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International, which breaks down barriers and celebrates the inclusion of individuals with physical, emotional, and social disabilities. They offer exceptional equine-assisted therapy and activities in a loving Christian environment, providing hope and improving the lives of those with physical, mental, and emotional challenges through Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies.

“It’s a little different from therapy dogs when it comes to training because we have to put children on the horse, but the overall goal is the same, the therapeutic value.” President and CEO of Inspiration Ranch, MG Tindall said. “We know for a fact that being next to a horse is calming, they are non-judgmental, and they provided happiness along with and experience some children may not have had before. We appreciate Texas Children’s for allowing us to provide this for the patients.”

View photos from Camp For All 2U below.

Texas Children’s has been adapting camp activities for patients and their siblings in a hospital setting since 2016. Camp For All 2U West Campus was an expansion of the Medical Center Campus event and generously funded by community partner Wood.

“Camp For All 2U is just one of the many opportunities that we have available for patients and their families to enjoy this summer in the hospital,” Child Life Coordinator Mary Reddick said. “The Camp For All 2U staff makes it very easy to engage patients through a series of games and activities that they just love!”

After returning for the fourth consecutive year, an expanding to The Woodlands Campus this year, Child Life Specialist Sarah Herbek said that she is excited to see the program grow across the system and more patients are able to experience this amazing event.

“It feels great to know that Camp is reaching our Katy and Woodlands communities. Camp For All 2 U teaches kids what they can do, not what they can’t do,” Herbek said. “I love that Texas Children’s Hospital recognizes the importance of allowing kids to be kids and as we continue to grow as an institution, we still make it a priority to provide these types of programs for our patients and families.”

Although there is a pre-registration process, patients are more than welcome to join in on the fun if they happen to come across the camp activities at all campuses.

“Camp for All 2U brought tons of laughing and dancing from patients, smiles and excitement from employees, and tears from parents,” Parrish said. “We absolutely look forward to making this an annual event and provide more new and exciting things for the Woodlands community.”

For more information about Camp For All, visit www.campforall.org.

August 6, 2019

Texas Children’s is very fortunate to partner with many community organizations and companies to help us provide high quality patient and family experiences. Members Choice Credit Union, a full-service financial institution serving the greater Houston area, recently formed a partnership with our West Campus location.

Located directly across the interstate, Members Choice had an urge to work with the hospital to better serve the Katy community. After developing a relationship with West Campus leadership and the Child Life Department, they began hosting small events at the hospital.

“I reached out and made it clear that my team would be so eager to do something here because of how close we are and how passionate our staff is about children struggling with illnesses,” Members Choice Vice President of Strategic Initiative & Programs Joye Jackson said. “We constantly look for ways to help and volunteer in the community and Texas Children’s was one of the best choices that we could start with.”

Earlier this year, Jackson and her team inquired about how they could be more involved with the hospital and later agreed to sponsor West Campus’ Summer Family Fun Days series of events. Their financial and volunteer services allowed the campus to successfully produce three days in June and July, of fun activities for inpatients, outpatients and their families.

On June 19, the events began with games and face painting in the lobby, then a magic comedy show was held in the conference rooms. The second event on July 10, Members Choice team member provided stations for patients and their families to create slime just before Mad Science Houston presented a science demonstration with a hands on experiment. The final day of the series was held on July 31, as Tom’s Fun Band entertained children of all ages with an interactive music show and family board games.

“The primary goal of this summer series is to provide summer destination activities for our patients and families while strengthening community relations,” Child Life Activity Coordinator Mary Reddick said. “We are so thankful to Members Choice for their dedication to our patients and their families.”

“It has really been phenomenal. We love coming here, every time we come, it’s more than what we expected. Sometimes we wonder how many children we’re going to have, but once we’re here, they just come out from everywhere,” Community Relations Representative Vanessa Wheeless said. “It just does so much for us to put a smile on a child’s face and kind of take their mind off what is going on with them.”

Members Choice’s mission is people-helping-people by providing sound financial solutions and resources, as well as sharing their passion for supporting the community. Their goal this year as an organization was to be more active in the community and to offer more opportunities.

“It’s one thing to say you want to do for the community, but it’s another thing to actually do it and see the reactions,” Jackson said. “We want to be known as an organization that truly does give back. For Texas Children’s to open the doors and welcome and allow us to be hands on with our support, we really thank you for the opportunity. We’re grateful that Members Choice is able to provide this assistance, and we want to challenge other businesses and organizations to do the same.”

July 9, 2019

Texas Children’s West Campus Urgent Care opened its doors in September 2018 and has served many patients since. Located next to Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus, the West Campus Urgent Care opened to help manage the Emergency Center to serve patients and families in the west Houston area. Learn more by visiting our 2018 virtual Annual Report.

July 1, 2019

As a manager and veteran nurse, Almea Montillo is someone that both patients and employees can count on. Her experience over the past 20 years has allowed her to form relationships with some of the most critically ill patients, and watch their journey to recovery.

“I’ve gotten to be very fortunate to see how my patients that I have sent from the Emergency Center, up here to the floor get better and go home,” Montillo said. “It’s really a great feeling to see how well we’ve taken care of them.”

Montillo began working in the Emergency Center, then became a staff nurse for a few years and later an educator. Now as she manages other nurses, she also makes time to be an active member of the Patient Experience Leader Rounding and Bedside Shift Report teams. She provides valuable feedback and is seen as a leader in the realm of patient experience.

“It’s been an awesome experience working at Texas Children’s,” Montillo said. “I’m very fortunate to be in an institution where you’re supported by leadership, and I feel that we take care of our patients very well.”

She is known for the love and comfort she provides patients, and the guidance and encouragement she gives employees. Between greeting staff, leading huddles, leadership rounding, and administrative tasks, her days can be pretty busy. She is also a Central Line Champion, as she makes sure that the staff carryout cap changes, and central line dressing changes properly.

“Mea personally rounds on each and every patient and family every day. She enjoys developing a relationship with the families and wants them to feel they can come to her for any need,” Assistant Clinical Director of Nursing at West Campus Sondra Morris said. “She ensures they feel comfortable by making sure they are aware of the resources at the campus and in the unit. She is a role model for the staff and a great example of how we should care for our patients and families.”

Montillo says that although the Caught You Caring Award came as a surprise, she was very excited to receive confirmation that the immense amount of effort and heart she puts into her work has not gone unrecognized.

“I was very happy to know that I made a difference with someone. I don’t ever look for any kind of praise, she said. “I feel like it’s my job to know the patients and the families and make sure that they have the best possible experience, because nobody wants to be in the hospital. It’s our job to make it a positive experience no matter what’s going on, and that is my motto and goal every single day.”