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Press Ganey’s 2023 Pediatrics Summit: Providing true Human Experience healthcare

Last month, for the first time since 2019, we were thrilled to host the Pediatrics Summit. We welcomed 65 attendees from 35 children’s hospitals and had robust and enlightening conversations about the Human Experience (HX) in pediatrics. 

As echoed by our pediatric healthcare experts throughout the summit, we know that improving patient experience, workforce engagement, and safety in pediatrics requires a specialized lens tailored to children, their families, and the pediatric staff who care for them. Through presentations and panel discussions, we dug into some of the pressing issues facing the children’s hospital community today, including workplace violence, mental health (of both pediatric patients and the pediatric workforce), the hard work involved in culture change, gun violence, challenges from having limited financial resources, and gender affirming care. 

Healthcare leaders on the state of pediatrics

Amy Wimpey Knight, the President of the Children’s Hospital Association, kicked off the summit with a discussion about the state of pediatrics and how a focus on the Human Experience really resonates today. She said we must start with a focus on people: “Healthcare is a people business, no matter how much you want to introduce technology—our customers are people, those providing care are people. For every single element along the way—from when someone first touches a health care system to when they leave—it’s about people.” She walked through how key considerations about pediatric patients and the pediatric workforce have been changing and overviewed the national advocacy and policy landscape surrounding the health of children. One point she made especially resonated with the audience and several other presenters referenced back to it throughout the summit. Knight discussed the “tubes of excellence,” which she explained was a “nice way” to talk about siloes. She identified this as a true industry challenge and explained that we need to integrate expertise both within and across pediatric organizations to help connect the dots and reduce friction for patients and the workforce.

The CEO panel on the first morning helped set the tone and focus of the summit, when we heard from Carolyn Quinn from Cohen Children’s, Caitlin Stella from Joe DiMaggio’s Children’s, and Perry Ann Reed from Nicklaus Children’s. They highlighted the need to carve out and focus on pediatrics, especially in large systems, to ensure those specific key insights and nuances are not lost in the larger conversation. The leaders discussed how, unlike aging adults, we don’t expect children to be sick, and that is just one of the many ways that children are different and “not just small adults.” They agreed that the beauty of pediatrics is that children’s hospitals focus on collaborating with each other instead of competing, because the goal is to get the child and their family what they need, wherever and whenever they need it. It was especially engaging to hear these senior leaders talk about the importance of connecting with their patients, families, and staff—often by not wearing a suit and a badge—and how they strive to bring joy and fun to the workplace to elevate everyone’s experience.

What our data shows us about patient and employee experience in pediatrics

Throughout the summit, the Press Ganey thought leadership team highlighted what we can learn about pediatric-specific successes and challenges related to the experiences of patients, families, staff, and clinicians, as well as safety, based on our national dataset and integrated analytics. What the data tells us is not surprising to anyone who works in pediatrics: There is a shared foundation between the importance of patient and family engagement, which is reflected in significantly higher patient experience survey performance; children’s hospitals that have long embraced a culture of safety, high reliability, and the goal of zero harm; and the high levels of engagement and connection to the organization’s mission for those who choose to work in children’s hospitals.

In parallel with children’s hospitals’ high level of performance and commitment to the Human Experience, they have unique challenges as well. For example, perhaps unsurprisingly to the experts at the summit, our data show that the pediatric workforce has significantly lower performance in decompression—the ability to disconnect from work—which is a key component of overall workforce resilience and well-being. Following each of the quick data-focused “HX Talks,” a panel of experts shared their diverse experiences on each topic.

Innovative community programs that are improving the patient experience

Attendees also had the opportunity to learn about key programs advancing the health and experience of children and their families. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s PolicyLab  provides community-based proactive care outreach using an integrated team model. Northwell Cohen’s Children’s Hospital’s Bee Mindful Program supports children with autism and other special needs, both within the hospital and out in the community. And Team IMPACT is doing the transformative work of matching children with long-term illness with college athletic teams—this deep connection was explained powerfully by a mother and her son, who is matched with the men’s soccer team at the University of Vermont.

Press Ganey is committed to supporting the pediatric community in its efforts to improve and support the Human Experience. We know that segmentation, both in the data and in how we recommend best practices, adds critical value, especially because it acknowledges the unique challenges and strengths of children’s hospitals. We look forward to sharing more of our plans for how we plan to accelerate our pediatrics engagement, including an upcoming pediatric industry insights report, in the coming months. We’re excited to learn from—and alongside—this field of experts who have long known the value of focusing on the experience of patients and families, while providing a safe environment and an engaging and supportive place to work.

Learn how Press Ganey can help your organization improve patient experience, workforce engagement, safety, and more. Reach out to an expert.

About the author

As Chief Medical Officer, Tom is responsible for developing clinical and operational strategies to help providers measure and improve the patient experience, with the overarching goals of reducing patient suffering and improving the value of care. Tom has more than three decades of experience in healthcare performance improvement as a practicing physician, a leader in provider organizations, researcher, and health policy expert. An internist and cardiologist, Tom continues to practice primary care at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Profile Photo of Thomas H. Lee, MD