Children's Health CXO on how an Amazon collab is making the patient experience 'as seamless and compassionate as possible'

In January, Dallas-based Children's Health announced that it had installed an Amazon Hub Locker kiosk so the families of long-term patients could receive and return packages directly from the Children's Medical Center Dallas campus.

The pilot program has since been "overwhelmingly successful," according to Keri Kaiser, senior vice president and chief marketing and experience officer of Children's Health. In fact, she added, "We are planning to expand our work with Amazon and add more lockers to our Dallas campus and potentially future locations at Children's Health."

Here, Ms. Kaiser discusses how the health system chose to team up with Amazon for the program and how something as simple as a locker kiosk — accessible via turn-by-turn navigation in the Children's Health mobile app — can vastly improve the patient experience.

Editor's note: Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Question: What went into Children's Health's decision-making process when choosing to work with Amazon?

Keri Kaiser: After dialogue with and observation of longer-term patient families regarding areas of improvement, we found a simple, overlooked need that had not been fulfilled — a method to receive and return Amazon deliveries. Feedback from our Children's Health Family Advisor Network (FAN), which is comprised of current and former Children's Health patients, their families and our team members, provided perspectives to help us drive meaningful improvements to our experience. FAN and additional patient families shared they have often leveraged Amazon to quickly and easily acquire the items they want and need.

In situations where families come to us unexpectedly, or are with us for long periods of time, they may not have the essential, everyday items they need to be comfortable in our care. Or they simply want items from their daily routines, such as snacks, drinks, books or games. Oftentimes, families may not realize a specific need until they arrive at Children's Health and desire items such as warmer clothes or softer blankets to make them more comfortable during their stay. Amazon offers an easy and wonderful way for them to quickly get these items, making them feel a little more at home without having to leave the hospital or their child. 

While our patients and families already saw Amazon as a great tool to quickly and easily obtain these items, we didn't have an easy solution to receive them at the hospital. Previously, our mailroom and concierge system weren't able to efficiently receive and deliver packages for our patients and their families. Joining forces with Amazon positioned us to better solve the needs of our patients and their families while also creating operational efficiencies. 

In addition to our patient families, the Amazon Hub Lockers have been especially beneficial for our own team members who work long shifts and may not have someone at home to receive their packages. While they could previously ship these deliveries to work to avoid inclement weather or theft, it further compounded our mailroom delivery capabilities. The Amazon Hub Lockers have increased our ability to better provide services to help lighten the load for our patients, families and team members.    

Q: Are there any extra factors you consider when working with tech and other non-healthcare companies?

KK: We aim to improve the daily lives of our patient families and our team members with various initiatives and real-life changes within our system. It's important we look at the world through their eyes and assess how we can amplify new ideas to make their experience with Children's Health as seamless and compassionate as possible.

Our largest consideration when working with other organizations is if they align with our mission to make life better for children. As a pediatric institution, we needed Amazon delivery teams to have credentials and to deliver to areas that were only accessible to our patient families and team members — not the rest of the outside world. Amazon was willing to work with us to solve for this unique need and produce results that accommodated everyone's needs.  

To date, the installation of Amazon Hub Lockers at Children's Medical Center Dallas has connected more than 2,500 patient families and team members with uninterrupted, easy and efficient access to Amazon products. For our patient families, this simple amenity brings them a sense of normalcy, comfort and ability to easily fulfill everyday needs while they focus on their child's care. For our team members, we make it easier for them to enable and provide care to our patients and their families, while also simplifying their day-to-day lives.

Q: How does introducing the Amazon Hub Lockers fit into Children's Health's 2020 strategy and goals for improving the patient experience?

KK: As we expand our services and campuses in the North Texas area, we continue to prioritize the experience we provide to our patients, their families and our team members who enable and provide their care. By introducing FAN, we ensure as an organization that all of our experience initiatives are inspired by our patients, their families and our team members, making them truly patient- and family-centric.

The installation of Amazon Hub Lockers gives families a means to be by their child's side and focus on the needs of their child and family during extended hospital stays, while still being able to receive important Amazon deliveries and gifts, which is our goal with all patient experience initiatives — to make a worrisome and uncertain experience more comforting. It provides our patients, families and team members easy and efficient access to the vast array of products and goods offered by Amazon, whether it's snacks, technological items or clothing, that can help them improve the comfort of their stay with us.

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