April 30, 2015 | (18) Comments

“What other people say about you is none of your business.”

I’ve heard that a time or two, and I suppose that’s a pretty good notion to live by most times. But if you provide a service of any kind, what people are saying matters.

My wife, Shannon, loves going on consumer websites to review restaurants and retailers. And because many people tend to vent on these sites, Shannon prefers to share reviews about positive experiences. Her interest in these websites prompted me to do some digging of my own recently. I wanted to see if I’d find messages about Texas Children’s.

Well, I did. And for the most part, they were exactly as I’d expected – stories of children’s health restored, great bedside care and employees going above and beyond to comfort families. But there were some comments that gave me pause too. I read things like:

“My concerns were not heard.”

“The wait time was extensive.”

“They weren’t very nice.”

These are comments from our patients and their families. And what they’re saying is absolutely our business.

Our patient families come to Texas Children’s because they know our reputation. They know we have beautiful buildings, advanced technology, and that our physicians, nurses and staff excel in their fields. They know that Texas Children’s is among the very best children’s hospitals in the country.

I’m proud that we are all those things. But if our care is absent of compassion, we are not fulfilling our promise to these families. It’s an honor that they choose to come to us for care. That’s why the way we care for them is so important.

Think about it: How do we speak to them? Do we really look at them or acknowledge them by name? If they’re lost, do we stop and redirect them — or better yet, walk with them to help them find their way? Do we consider what it’s like to be in their shoes? Are we kind? And most importantly, are we consistent?

I know many of you are doing your part. I hear stories of how you are leading and taking ownership of our patients’ and families’ experiences.

Like Rosa Medrano in Environmental Services who recently found a lost family in the Clinical Care Center after the clinic had closed. The family had missed their appointment while trying to find their way. But instead of just pointing them in another direction, Rosa located another radiologist, Dr. Scott Dorfman, who was able to perform the diagnostic scan their child needed. Rosa’s attentiveness helped reroute the family to get the care they’d come here to receive.

Or like Dr. Ellis Arjmand who had a 3-year-old patient preparing for his first surgery. The patient and the parents were very nervous, and the mother was sitting on the floor, comforting the child. Dr. Arjmand sat right there beside them, on the floor, as he spoke to them to ensure the family knew they had his full attention.

It’s often small, simple moments like these that make the difference for our patients and families. I know many of you show this kind of compassion and thoughtfulness much of the time. But we must remember, that for each patient and family, each visit to Texas Children’s is their window into our world. What we show them during that time with us is how they will remember us and their experience here.

So what are you showing them? I want to hear from you about what you and your teams and units are doing to make the Texas Children’s experience exceptional, every day, every time.