It began over a breakfast meeting between two CEOs. Texas Children’s Hospital had a longstanding partnership with St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, a neighbor on the massive Texas Medical Center campus in Houston. In essence, Texas Children’s took care of the babies born to the female patients of St. Luke’s.
But it was during that breakfast that word came of St. Luke’s decision to get out of the obstetrics business. The immediate result: Texas Children’s was getting in to the obstetrics business.
“It presented us with a great deal of opportunity,” says Cris Daskevich, senior vice president of what today is Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women. It was agreed at the time that Texas Children’s would manage all labor and delivery plus the antepartum and postpartum units of St. Luke’s.
The timing was ideal. The hospital had been making enhancements to its Fetal Center, in which early fetal diagnostics were being conducted as well as in utero surgeries. In Daskevich’s mind, the leap from taking care of mothers to taking care of women in general is a simple one.
“It absolutely makes sense for us,” she says. “Our vision and our mission is to improve neonatal outcomes and the long-term health of our children. And the way you do that is to begin taking care of women, even before they decide to become mothers.”
Plans soon fell into place for a new women’s hospital where all of the services already offered by Texas Children’s, as well as those acquired by taking on St. Luke’s obstetrics business, could reside under one roof.
Discovering the muse
FKP Architects and general contractor WS Bellows Construction, both of Houston, were brought on board, and the Texas Children’s team began developing the project’s guiding principles.
An outside marketing research consultant was hired to conduct interviews with local obstetricians and gynecologists, mothers who had recently delivered children in the Texas Medical Center, as well as nursing staff and leadership, to begin putting together the elements of the ideal patient experience.
Once market surveys were completed, the team was in place, and the compiled data was used to educate team members and develop design goals, Texas Children’s next conducted a benchmarking exercise to assess similar facilities across the country. The team did phone interviews and made site visits to gauge not only what was working, but where the overall patient experience could be improved.
At the same time, at home, a women’s advisory council was established. “There were 14 women who were involved in this project for four years. They’re all of child-bearing age, and many have been having second or third children during this project,” Daskevich says.
The group was used to provide insight regarding all stages of their journey through pregnancy and birth, as well as to garner feedback from their husbands and other family members.
“Putting all of those pieces together offered FKP some really defined expectations and needs of the institution,” says Jill Pearsall, director of facilities, planning and development, Texas Children’s Hospital.
Setting the stage
When designing the new Pavilion for Women, FKP was charged with creating a comprehensive building where inpatient services, outpatient services, diagnostics, administrative services, food options, retail, private physicians’ offices, faculty offices, and parking could be supported, all on the extremely dense Texas Medical Center campus.
The result is a 15-story, 1.3 million-square-foot maternity hospital and parking garage, with a two-story curved bridge connecting the third and fourth floors of the Pavilion for Women with the existing Texas Children’s pediatric care facilities.