• Article
  • January 3, 2018

3 Tools That are Enhancing the Patient and Family Hospital Experience

At Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, the team is working hard to stay ahead of the technology curve to better serve patients and their families. And their efforts are paying off. "Sometimes, when you go into a health care setting, you feel like you've stepped back a few years because they're not quite caught up to everything," says Jessica Miller, whose daughter is treated here for Type 1 diabetes. "But at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, they are meeting families' needs."

Here are just three ways (among many) that Children's Hospital of Wisconsin is putting technology to work to enhance the patient and family experience:

Online urgent care scheduling

Parents can schedule an appointment online at any one of Children's Hospital of Wisconsin's five urgent care centers, and they can see the wait times at each center. So if the center that is a five-minute drive from home has an hour wait time, but the center 20 minutes away has no wait—families can confidently go to the other center, knowing they will get in faster.

Results: This tool has helped manage patient and family expectations and raise satisfaction rates.

Real-time communication around procedures

  • Pre-op: In the days and weeks leading up to a child's procedure, parents receive text messages about timing and location, how to prepare and what to expect. 
  • In-op: Especially for long procedures like heart and neurosurgery, parents receive real-time updates on how the procedure is progressing and how their child is doing.
  • Post-op: The communication continues through recovery, including text messages on what to expect and how to respond to reactions.

Results: This tool has helped reduce post-ER visits and medical costs and drive better outcomes and patient and family satisfaction.

Children's On Call

This is a mobile app that parents and families can use to inquire about their child's symptoms and get quick advice that can help them make informed decisions on what kind of care their child may need, and it offers tips on how to make the child feel better.

Results: This enables Children's Hospital of Wisconsin to help children and families. They don't have to be current patients, and they may never even become a patient. But this app builds connections, relationships and trust in the community.

Is your institution using apps that are driving patient and family engagement and satisfaction? Tell us about them at magazine@childrenshospitals.org.