Family-Centered Patient Access at Children’s Hospitals

As RelateCare Director of Client Solutions, I am responsible for ensuring that RelateCare deliver high-quality services to our client partners and that we are always adding value to the healthcare organizations that we serve. This is a mission I am passionate about with all our clients-partners but I have a special pride in RelateCare’s historic and ongoing relationship with children’s hospitals.

My first role with RelateCare was consulting with a large children’s hospital.  As a father of three, my work with paediatric healthcare organizations is a source of pride and always resonates with me: how would I feel if I had to call this hospital to care for one of my own children?

A specific kind of care

Since the very first dedicated children’s hospital was created in Paris in 1801 –  Hôpital Necker-Enfants Malades – there has been a core idea that children deserve a very particular and unique kind of environment and treatment.

The environment, the buildings, the style of treatment all should be designed with children in mind. Ideally, every detail is considered to optimize the care and wellbeing of the child. This includes the specifics of clinical treatment down to color schemes of the walls.

Children’s clinics and hospitals continuously strive to be as warm and welcoming as possible, to make visits as easy and comfortable as possible. We try to bring the same dedication to improving the scheduling experience where we can.

Reassurance and peace of mind

We regularly refer to the scheduling lines as the “Front Door” into the hospital systems.  The scheduling staff are often the first point of contact for parents who are often desperately worried about their children.  Schedulers are uniquely placed to make that first impression.  Engaging parents or guardians with expertise in scheduling while delivering empathy and reassurance is essential. 

Scheduling should deliver the right appointment with the right provider at the right time, but also peace of mind.  This can be as simple not making the caller feel rushed, saying the child’s name throughout the process or taking the time to give a full recap at the end of the call to include small details, like directions for parking decks. Whatever it takes. 

Keeping it simple

There are some important points RelateCare will keep returning to:

  1. Try keep things as simple as possible for the parents and guardians. We do not need to add further stress or complications to an already difficult situation.
  2. Train your representatives to help parents and guardians so they can get the right information in a straightforward manner.
  3. Implement a strong Quality Assurance program that supports the delivery of service excellence.  Through ongoing monitoring, feedback and the process will help identify opportunities to improve the process.
  4. Optimize the patient access process to support the simplicity of scheduling appointments.

Since our inception (over 10 years ago) RelateCare have specialized in providing patient access and contact center solutions to a number of leading pediatric healthcare organizations across the USA. One of our very first partners was a large children’s hospital on the west coast, and since then we have developed partnerships with several others.

We are extremely proud of our ongoing work with children’s hospitals. We have learned a lot over the years’, and we are ready to help other organizations make the changes necessary to provide the right kind of family-centered patient access support.

If you want to find out more about RelateCare’s work with children’s hospitals please get in touch at

Rob Hanrahan is RelateCare’s Director of Client Solutions. Rob works with our partners to ensure high-quality service delivery and that RelateCare’s programs are adding value to the healthcare organizations that we serve. Rob has significant experience developing and delivering consultancy and outsourced solutions to multiple RelateCare client partners. Rob has played a pivotal role in many of RelateCare’s contact center optimization engagements and has acted as a leading advisor to health systems who are looking to strategically improve patient access. Prior to joining RelateCare, Rob was an award-winning senior contact center manager at Rigneydolphin. During his eight years with Rigneydolphin he played a key role managing multiple programs of work for blue-chip partners across several market sectors including telecommunications, utilities, and healthcare.