December 10, 2004

Doctors’ Office Tower: Communication key to easing patients’ confusion

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After 33 years, the Division of Pediatric Cardiology is moving from Medical Center North to new space at the Doctors’ Office Tower.
by Dana Johnson

Doctors' Office Tower: Communication key to easing patients’ confusion

Harold Kendrick, a family guest services representative with Patient Affairs and a fixture at Vanderbilt University Medical Center for the last five years, moved his broad smile and congenial ways to the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt the second week it was open. Right away he was faced with frantic parents who had mistakenly brought their children to the new Children's Hospital for outpatient visits.

“We were promoting the opening of the hospital and they saw it on TV or in the news, but what we didn't do was emphasize what was NOT moving into the new building. That was all the outpatient services at the time.”

Kendrick hopes this time everyone on campus will become a “deputy patient affairs officer” as families try to adjust to the change in location of some pediatric outpatient clinics to the newly opened Doctors' Office Tower (DOT).

“It takes time for habits to change,” said Lisa Heltzel, director of marketing for the Children's Hospital. Heltzel has been working on informing families about the clinic move for months. “First, the automated call system will remind people of their appointments and emphasize the change in locations, then we will follow up with a letter and a map. If English is not their first language, there will be symbols to make it clear. We're being proactive and spending some money and resources to make this a seamless process for everyone.”

Kendrick says the most important thing every member of the Vanderbilt family can do is be informed about what is moving and what is not moving next week.

“Especially those people involved in the move,” Kendrick said. “If they take ownership of the information, then when they find someone in the hallways who is looking for their clinic, they'll be able to help them.”