Peoria Pediatric Surgery Center among the best in country

Dayna R. Brown

When doctors envisioned a new children’s health clinic, they knew one thing: it had to be a kid-friendly place.

So, they built an outer space room, where the examination table is shaped like a rocket ship.

Live fish swim in a tank in the waiting room, which is decorated with "happy cats and dogs."

And patients can be examined in the under-the-sea room, complete with a submarine table.

As a result, the Pediatric Surgery Center at the Children’s Hospital of Illinois is among the best outpatient facilities in the nation for patient satisfaction.

The facility recently was recognized by Press, Ganey, which measures healthcare performance, for being in the 99th percentile in patient satisfaction. It was compared to more than 5,200 other sites across the country.

Last year, the mean score for patient satisfaction of all outpatient facilities was 90.7 percent.

"We have had a dual focus from the beginning," said Dr. Richard Pearl, surgeon-in-chief for Children’s Hospital. "We wanted to have the very best in clinical services while having a convenient and welcoming place for those services. The survey tells us that we have accomplished both."

The center was evaluated based on 37 criteria in such areas as scheduling, waiting time, staff friendliness and professionalism, physician interaction, pain control and patient privacy.

"Kids come to our clinic and they actually like the place," Pearl said. And research shows when patients are happy and comfortable, they recover more quickly, he said.

In addition to ambience, Pearl credits the staff with the high patient satisfaction.

"The entire staff is kid-friendly. All our nurses have a lot of pediatric experience, and our staff all likes kids," he said.

The facility opened in 2000, when Pearl had the idea to create a doctor’s office where children would be comfortable.

Since that time, the surgery center has treated more than 30,000 pediatric patients. In the first year, about 1,300 patients went through the clinic. This year it will be almost 13,000.

Located in the Hillcrest Building on the Downtown campus of OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, the facility has 15 exam rooms, five doctors’ offices and two waiting rooms.

Specialties at the center include cardiovascular care, ear, nose and throat, neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery and plastic surgery.

The idea is to provide all the services that surgery patients might need in a single location.

"Everyone feels very comfortable when they walk through the door," Pearl said. "We are attempting to not make people wait and to answer their questions. We have very good results."

Dayna R. Brown can be reached at (309) 686-3255 or dbrown@pjstar.com.