In the four years since Atrium Health Navicent Beverly Knight Olson Children’s Hospital opened its doors on Feb. 25, 2019, central and south Georgia’s only dedicated pediatric hospital has made strides in enhancing the lives of children through excellence in patient care and education.
When the children’s hospital opened its doors, inpatient children’s services were consolidated under one roof, providing opportunities for expansion to better serve children in need.
“Care can be provided anywhere, but when you have a children’s hospital, care is provided by individuals who are dedicated solely to pediatric patients. That dedication comes through to patients and parents which make them they feel so much more comfortable,” said Dr. Mitch Rodriguez, a neonatologist and medical director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and business development officer for Atrium Health Navicent Beverly Knight Olson Children’s Hospital.
Key accomplishments since the hospital’s inception include:
Virtual Pediatric Infectious Disease Consultation Partnership
Children suffering from COVID-19 and other infectious diseases have benefitted from Atrium Health Navicent Beverly Knight Olson Children’s Hospital’s Virtual Pediatric Infectious Disease Consultation Partnership with Atrium Health Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, N.C. Utilizing a “computer on wheels” equipped with a webcam, specialists at Levine Children’s Hospital can consult face-to-face with physicians, patients and their families.
“It’s been an exceptional relationship, which allows us to call and consult them when we have concerns related to potential serious infections, or complications we need assistance with,” Rodriguez said. “They do a telehealth visit with the patient and their family. It’s a process that helps keep our patients here, and not have to send them away for care.”
Phoebe Health Partnership
A clinical affiliation between Atrium Health Navicent Beverly Knight Olson Children’s Hospital and physicians at Phoebe Health in Albany allows patients in southwest Georgia to receive expanded services, including virtual and in-person pediatric specialty consultations, the most advanced pediatric diagnostics available and state of the art medical treatments close to home.
“We have a very good relationship with Phoebe in Albany. Our physicians go there to see pediatric patients regarding hematology, oncology, endocrinology and surgery. Our goal is to continue to expand the clinics offered in Albany with the growth of our pediatric sub-specialty services. It’s great for the community in that patients don’t have to travel to receive high-level services and care is provided closer to home,” Rodriguez said.
Breast Milk Depot
A breast milk depot located at Atrium Health Navicent Beverly Knight Olson Children’s Hospital allows local nursing mothers to donate their extra breast milk to benefit premature babies through a partnership with the King’s Daughters Milk Bank in Norfolk, Virginia. Since opening in 2021, more than 30,216 ounces of local donor breast milk has been collected, which is enough to provide nutrition for as many as 120,800 premature babies in need. One ounce of breast milk can provide nutrition for as many as four premature babies.
“This is an incredible program that was essentially community-led and has been a big success for babies in our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit,” Rodriguez said. “The support of breastfeeding mothers donating excess expressed breast milk is critical in maintaining the supply of donated breast milk and allows us to move toward a breast milk-only unit for our critical patient population.”
Vocera EASE App
Using the Vocera EASE app, families with babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit have a new way to stay connected with their infants and care teams when they cannot be at the bedside. When a patient is admitted, the family enrolls on the EASE app. Nurses and doctors can send the family updates about their patient several times a day. The program has received a 90 percent satisfaction rating from parents and family members who are pleased with the frequent communication they receive from doctors and nurses caring for their children.
“It keeps the family engaged without them having to call constantly or be at the hospital all the time,” Rodriguez said. “And the EASE number can be shared with family all over the nation so even extended family or long-distance friends can all stay engaged and informed. Families love it because it makes communication so much easier.”
“School House Health” and School-Based Virtual Care Programs
Atrium Health Navicent’s “School House Health” partnership with Bibb County Schools was enhanced with the health system providing training, personal protective equipment and school nurses who help keep students healthy and able to learn.
The Atrium Health Navicent School-Based Virtual Care program also offers Peach County Schools’ 3,600 students and 500 teachers and school staff members access to virtual visits with a health provider without leaving their school campus, acting as an extension of services provided by established school nurses and offering near-immediate access to more advanced care.
“It remains our goal to take care and provide it closer to patients. This is an example of that,” Rodriguez said. “At school or through telehealth, we can help a student who’s feeling ill have a consultation, with permission of the parent. Making a diagnosis without leaving school potentially allows children to return to the classroom, which is important for children continuing with their education. Also, for the parent with a sick child, it reduces their need to take day off work and travel to a care provider.”
Two National Accreditations
Atrium Health Navicent Beverly Knight Olson Children’s Hospital is a member of the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) and is accredited through the Child Life Internship Program from the Association of Child Life Professionals.
“Receiving Children’s Oncology Group accreditation means that anyone diagnosed with cancer can receive the same therapy here as at any one of the COG institutions around the nation, which are the nation’s top children’s hospitals,” Rodriguez said. “Patients can get that care close to home, which is so important to families who are then able to remain close to their support systems.”
National Database Participation
Atrium Health Navicent Beverly Knight Olson Children’s Hospital is dedicated to providing quality care and consistently measuring our success on this path. In addition to having dedicated quality teams at Atrium Health Navicent Beverly Knight Olson Children’s Hospital, we have joined two national databases, the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program for pediatrics and the Vermont Oxford Network. These databases allow the hospital to measure successes relative to other programs around the nation.
“These are national databases of more than 1,500 hospitals that we submit information to,” said Rodriguez. “It’s a quality improvement initiative that allows us to measure our success relative to other programs around the nation and a way to make sure we monitor data and compare ourselves to our peers.”
New Specialist Physicians
As part of a continuing commitment to recruit and retain top pediatric specialists, Atrium Health Navicent Beverly Knight Olson Children’s Hospital recently welcomed two new pediatric gastroenterologists, a developmental pediatrician and a pediatric neurologist.
Pediatric Imaging Center
Atrium Health Navicent Beverly Knight Olson Children’s Hospital offers a pediatric imaging center designed specifically to set children at ease when receiving diagnostic testing such as X-rays, ultrasounds, MRIs and CT scans. Our commitment is to have a child-focused and friendly environment for our pediatric patients, where care is provided by pediatric trained and dedicated providers.
“This is a one-of-a-kind center dedicated to pediatric patients,” said Rodriguez. “The whole facility is designed to reduce anxiety for children, with every room decorated in a theme that helps young patients feel a bit more comfortable.”
Hospital at Home
Atrium Health Navicent’s Hospital at Home virtual care program has expanded to include pediatric patients and pediatric diabetes patients. Through the virtual care delivery system, care providers can spot trends or worsening symptoms and provide early intervention, if needed, before an emergency occurs. For pediatric diabetes patients, Hospital at Home helps bridge the gap between the time when a child is discharged from the hospital with a new diabetes diagnosis, until when they establish care with a pediatric endocrinologist.
In addition, the Get Growing service of the pediatric Hospital at Home program was launched to help babies treated in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit who may need close follow-up to ensure healthy weight gain at home.
As the only dedicated pediatric facility in central and south Georgia, and one of the most comprehensive in the state, the children’s hospital has the only dedicated Pediatric Emergency room in the area, and also provides care in general pediatrics, pediatric critical care, neonatal intensive care and outpatient services. The hospital also serves as the primary teaching site for the Department of Pediatrics at the Mercer University School of Medicine.
For more information about Atrium Health Navicent Beverly Knight Olson Children’s Hospital, or for help finding a doctor, visit ChildrensHospitalNH.org.