Peter Ermis knows a few things about large projects.
He and his team recently opened a 27,000-square-foot center dedicated to caring for adults with congenital heart disease, and he believes one key aspect of their approach led to its successful launch.
"The one thing I've found most important is you've got to listen to different people," says Ermis, M.D., medical director, Adult Congenital Heart Program, Texas Children's Hospital in Houston. "You have to be willing to take everyone's opinion—and listen to them—because everyone has vital information to offer."
Gather input first
He adds it's important to solicit those opinions early; engaging all parties before a project begins helps focus the organization's plans and address hurdles at the outset.
"Listening upfront to everyone—especially when starting a new endeavor—is first and foremost," Ermis says. "Only when you coalesce everyone's thoughts can you really get the best way forward. If you don't do that, you're going to wish you did down the road."
Creating opportunity from concern
Ermis practices what he preaches. He says hospital leadership reached out across the organization for input on the proposed adult congenital heart disease center every step of the way before embarking on the project and during each phase of the planning. It not only assured all the best ideas were on the table but also provided his team a chance to turn potential negatives into positives.
"Transition and change can be hard for people, but there are also opportunities in change," Ermis says. "We found that by listening to everyone's thoughts, ideas and concerns, things that may have been roadblocks actually turned into opportunities for everyone."
Read more about how Ermis and his team at Texas Children's built a medical home for adults with congenital heart disease.