Children's Hospitals Today - Fall 2017 - 22

FEATURE / TRENDS

GETTING STARTED

3 ways to make
a connection
Hospital leaders share their tips
for making the most of every
interaction with families.

JUST ASK
"We can make educated
guesses about what young
families and patients want,
but they are the only ones
who really know. And they
will tell you what they need.
So ask them what they want."
-BOB CONNORS

LOOK BEYOND THE CHART
"Everyone wants their child
to be viewed as one of a kind.
And the experience they
expect to have in the hospital
and clinic is that you're
looking beyond the medical
chart-you are seeing the
whole child and the family
as human beings, not just a
medical case."
-SCOTT PERRYMAN

SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF
"We have a saying around
here that 'Little is big.ΚΌ Every
little encounter you have is
important in how that family
interprets the experience."
-PEGGY TROY

22

CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL S TODAY Fall 2017

"We are upgrading our systems to
provide more of a retail-like, hotellike experience," Perryman says. This
includes things like enhanced patient
communications, kitchen service and
technology like MyChart for increased
on-demand access to information
and updates. And while that at-yourfingertips information is high on
the list of family priorities, real-time
availability of data-including test
results-can also pose a problem for
care teams and families.
"It's a tricky balance as a provider to
think that through, because on the one
hand, giving patients access to medical
information and their health records
is a good thing," says Amy Starmer,
M.D., M.P.H., pediatrician; director of
primary care quality improvement;
associate medical director, Department
of Medicine at Boston Children's
Hospital and assistant professor of
pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.
"So we want to promote that. But at the
same time, there's a reason it takes four
years to get through medical school-
to be able to interpret and understand
which tests are needed, to determine
the reliability of sources and to avoid
misinformation that can lead to more
parent and patient anxiety than is
necessary. It's a challenge."
The key is to talk one-on-one with
families about diagnoses or test results
that are more complicated and require
context before making them available
on a technology platform. According
to Peggy Troy, RN, M.S.N., president
and CEO of Children's Hospital of
Wisconsin, the overall children's
hospital experience should start long
before the patient and family walk in
the front door.
"The experience begins from the
minute you decide you need the care,"
Troy says. "And it includes things like
what the traffic is like coming into
the hospital, and how to navigate
the campus, how friendly the valet
service was, and how the hospital's

text messaging system works before,
during and after care. We need to
think about the patient and family
experience before they come in the
door and after they leave."

Reliant on crowdsourcing
The current and future patient and
family also rely heavily on peer
recommendations, which influence
where, and from whom, they decide to
seek care for their children. "We found
that people are increasingly willing
to listen to their peer groups about
where to go for care," says Perryman.
"Sometimes even placing these opinions
above the recommendations of their
physician or the requirements of their
insurance plan or company. Economics
are a huge factor here, and people are
more price sensitive than in the past."
And today's parents are highly likely to
look at star ratings when researching
caregivers, with a close eye on the
overall experience factor.
"Millennials rely on crowdsourced
feedback, and that's one way they can
get a first view of how a physician is
ranked by families," says Troy. "How
families rank you has a lot to do with
how you treat them. A surgeon can do
the best job possible in the operating
room, but this is about that human
interaction and how people feel about
their experience."
Dorsey says this is a generation that
lives on recommendations. "Just think
about all the analytics behind the
scenes that recommend what movies
we see, what we eat or drink and where
we should we go on a trip," he says.
"That is going to become extremely
normal over the next five years."
Something else care teams at
children's hospitals should be on the
lookout for over the next five years:
the effect of the communication
style that Gen Z is growing up with.
Because this generation does not
talk face-to-face, or even by phone, as
much as previous generations, having



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