August 5, 2019

A few weeks ago, you probably saw the U.S. News and World Report 2019-2020 Best Children’s Hospitals ranking and honor roll. We were all simply thrilled that Texas Children’s Hospital continues to be ranked among the best in the nation.

We were ranked even higher this year, tying for third place among all children’s hospitals nationally. And for the first time, Texas Children’s is ranked in the top 10 in each of the pediatric sub-specialties the survey assesses. Six of our sub-specialties were ranked in the top 3 – two are ranked #1, two are ranked #2, and another two are ranked #3.

Now I’ll admit, these rankings are just fantastic! I’m always proud of the attention they bring to our focus on exceptional care. But without a doubt, our patients are the winners here, because the survey measures things that, ultimately, are really significant for our patients and their families.

The survey factors in patient outcomes, such as mortality and infection rates, available clinical resources, and compliance with best practices. So when our rankings improve overall or in any category, it demonstrates that we’re not just striving to be better, we actually are better. And better care and exceptional outcomes are huge wins for our patients.

For example, last year our CLABSI rates were some of our lowest ever. We continued to make big strides in the reduction of hospital-acquired pressure injuries. An ongoing system-wide push from nursing helped recruit and retain more outstanding caregivers, ensuring we have the proper nurse-patient ratio at all times. Our Department of Radiology worked rapidly and tirelessly to earn a new ultrasound accreditation. And our IS department worked side by side with operations and clinicians to implement a new information-sharing system that allowed us to exchange patient health information more seamlessly with other institutions. All of these house-wide improvements were noted in the surveyors’ assessment as factors in our ranking this year.

I shared our sub-specialty rankings with you last month, but I want you to know what they really mean, beyond the numbers. Starting today on Connect and for the next several weeks, we’re spotlighting each of our 10 sub-specialty areas ranked in the recent U.S. News survey to share details about the improvements, programs, and advancements that garnered these impressive results.

There’s some incredible work happening across all 10 of these sub-specialties and throughout our organization, and the real excitement is how our gains in the rankings translate to better outcomes for our patients. When we have a strong showing on any survey that examines the care we provide, it’s another reminder that our focus is exactly where it should be.

March 1, 2019

For decades, Texas Children’s has been a leader in pediatric healthcare with the quality of patient care and safety at the heart of everything we do. Being a leader is a journey – one that we must work hard at each and every day, continuously striving to improve and to set new standards of excellence to meet the ever-evolving needs of the patients and families we serve.

As part of this journey, several initiatives – including our patient access initiative – have been implemented across our health system to generate a positive impact on our patients and their families. Referring physicians are taking notice as well. Our efforts to improve access are ongoing and were recently validated by the Harris County Medical Society when they released the results of their physician satisfaction survey last week.

The survey was completed by 3,900 physicians and provided results for 24 Houston-area hospitals, including two of our campuses. And without a doubt, Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus and Texas Children’s Hospital Medical Center Campus are the No. 1 and No. 4 highest ranking hospitals in Harris County!

According to survey results, we earned these rankings for overall satisfaction, and both campuses were in the top one or two spots in several of the survey’s categories, including:

  • Referral Processes and Procedures
  • Electronic Medical Records
  • Access to Care
  • Prioritization of Quality and Safety
  • Code of Conduct and Peer Review Process
  • Leadership

I have no doubt these sentiments are the direct result of the work we have done to standardize clinic sessions, implement direct scheduling, create an electronic waitlist, and streamline our referral process, among many others. And I’m confident that our ongoing efforts will continue progressing on this positive track.

As you all know, I firmly believe that “leadership always influences or determines outcomes – not some of the time, but all of the time.” The survey results highlight our leaders’ determination and acute focus on driving successful outcomes year after year while we simultaneously expand and lead the charge of accelerating health care.

The relationships we build and nurture with area physicians are a critical part of that. Those relationships are built on trust and are strengthened by consistent excellence. These survey results provide valuable insights into the physicians’ perceptions of Texas Children’s, and our dynamic with them broadens our access to the children and women in our community.

Dr. Bernard Gerber, President of the Harris County Medical Society, congratulated us on these spectacular results, and I am thrilled to pass that on to you. Congratulations and thank you for all of your efforts to constantly elevate our quality of care. This is a tremendous accomplishment and confirms the exceptional work done by our one amazing team every day.

Texas Children’s Hospital compared to other area hospitals on each question.

Texas Children’s Hospital Report 2018 vs. 2017

Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus Report 2018 vs. 2017

October 12, 2018

Maxim 10: The best companies in the world are those that have outstanding frontline leadership.

When you’re blessed to lead an organization as successful as Texas Children’s has been, people often want to know the secret. They ask all the time, “How does Texas Children’s continue to do so well?” And the funny part is, it’s no secret at all. In fact, the reason for our success can be found right out front – or more specifically, on the frontline.

It’s good to have a visionary CEO and a strong leadership team. But if a company doesn’t have great frontline leaders, quite simply, that company is not going to be successful. Our frontline is the face of Texas Children’s – they are invaluable to our organization. They are the ones interacting with our patients, families, medical staff and the general public, often making the first and most lasting impression on everyone who comes into contact with Texas Children’s.

Martin Wortley in the Customer Care Contact Center (CCC) is an incredible example of an employee who keeps his focus on ensuring patients’ and families’ experiences with us are exceptional. Perhaps he draws from his own experience – he first came to Texas Children’s for treatment of kidney stones when he was 10 years old. Years later, he returned to Texas Children’s, working in several frontline roles that gave him the opportunity to interact with patients and families and understand their needs. These roles also helped him learn about various parts of the organization, making him a great resource to team members and patient families as they navigate our system.

Martin is now an Assistant Director in the CCC, and his primary focus is the same – making sure our frontline staff keeps families first. This is critical because, as a call center, the CCC is often the first interaction a parent has with Texas Children’s. Martin nurtures the relationships with his staff and providers, and he goes above and beyond to set an example for providing exceptional customer service to our patients and families. He consistently shows initiative and has a thoughtful approach to problem solving and communicating, which goes a long way to make sure families get access to the care their children need in the timeliest manner. Martin’s leadership and success is directly reflected in the warm, positive – and efficient – experiences families have with our CCC staff.

I am extremely proud to have frontline leaders like Martin on our one amazing team. Therein lies the “secret” to our success. We have a lot of awesome things going on at Texas Children’s – opening of the new Legacy Tower, expansion into Austin, Aa2 bond rating for 22 years straight, ranked among the top children’s hospitals in the U.S., no. 11 on Forbes list of best employers for women … and the list goes on and on. How do we achieve success after success? The answer is right out front.

I’d like to hear from you … is there a great frontline leader in your area? How do they inspire you and your team to be one amazing team?

Take the leadership challenge, and score a spot at a Houston Texans event!

Over the past few weeks, Mark Wallace’s blog has been highlighting employees who demonstrate his Maxims of Leadership. Each blog post poses a leadership question that Texas Children’s employees may respond to in the comments section until October 19. 

Afterward, the Corporate Communications team will randomly select 75 people from the comments to attend a private event with the Houston Texans, including a behind-the-scenes tour of NRG Stadium, an autograph session with two Houston Texans football players and photos with the Texans cheerleaders.

Maxim no. 9: Leadership development is hiring the best, developing them and retaining them.

Last week, I celebrated 29 amazing years at Texas Children’s, and when I look at how much we have grown as an organization both in size and scope it takes my breath away.

The growth of our workforce has also been simply incredible. When I first came to Texas Children’s in 1989, we had about 1,400 employees. Today we are 14,000+ strong. We have grown so much, but more important than just growing is having employees who grow and develop with the organization, and it doesn’t just happen by accident. At Texas Children’s, we invest purposefully and unceasingly to ensure that each of you have the growth opportunities you want so that you can enjoy long, rewarding and fulfilling careers here.

Back in 1994, when Andrea Crayton – or Dré as many of us know her – walked in as a new employee for her first day of work at the McDonald’s restaurant at our Medical Center Campus – it was the start of an amazing professional and personal journey. Dré started at McDonald’s but soon after joined Texas Children’s, working for several years in Environmental Services and Valet Services. She left for a bit to earn her Associates Degree in Respiratory Care and returned to Texas Children’s as a respiratory therapist. As a member of Texas Children’s Kangaroo Crew, she spent several more years helping safely transport some of our most critical patients.

Throughout the years, Dré has continued her education, taking advantage of Texas Children’s tuition reimbursement program. Last December, she took the most exciting walk of her journey yet – a walk across the stage to receive her Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Care, graduating summa cum laude! I’m so proud of Dré and all that she has accomplished, but her journey isn’t over yet. Now Dré is pursuing a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in healthcare, while working as a respiratory clinical coordinator at The Woodlands Campus, where she’s closer to home.

Every step of the way, Dré says she’s had two things in her favor – aspiration and inspiration. Her amazing spirit drove her to keep learning, and she says she’s grateful for the mentoring and advice from dynamic leaders like Jennifer Bee, Michelle Riley-Brown, Dr. Jeanine Graf, Gail Parazynski, Garry Sitler and Ketrese White. More importantly, whenever and wherever she looked to challenge herself, develop new skills, or advance within Texas Children’s, there was an opportunity available and tools to support her.

Dré’s story is similar to so many of you here – I know many of you who have dedicated your careers in a single department while others have pursued new opportunities across the organization as you’ve gone through different stages of your lives and careers. I’m so proud that Texas Children’s is a place where all employees can grow and learn both personally and professionally. Texas Children’s is a place where there are no limits, and you can achieve anything you set your mind to.

I truly believe our commitment to your professional growth and development is our greatest investment – because when you are happy and thriving, the possibilities for our collective success are endless!

I’d like to hear from you … have you had an interesting career journey at Texas Children’s? If so, briefly share your story. 

Take the leadership challenge, and score a spot at a Houston Texans event!

Over the past few weeks, Mark Wallace’s blog has been highlighting employees who demonstrate his Maxims of Leadership. Each blog post poses a leadership question that Texas Children’s employees may respond to in the comments section until October 19. 

Afterward, the Corporate Communications team will randomly select 75 people from the comments to attend a private event with the Houston Texans, including a behind-the-scenes tour of NRG Stadium, an autograph session with two Houston Texans football players and photos with the Texans cheerleaders.