Family Advisory Council

Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital

Digital Dilemma…There’s a Human Behind that Device

The average U.S. adult will spend two hours, 55 minutes a day on their smartphone this year. Digital tools give us the ability to better understand our customers. We can connect with them to provide relevant, personalized care and information, wherever and whenever they need it, to better manage their health. But, are we reliant on tech too much? How well do we know them as a person? Do we know what they need as a parent navigating care team communication?

The digital consumer experience team received great feedback after realizing the parent/patient journey is anything but seamless. The MyHealth app will be enhanced thanks to the parents’ voice as it will allow a parent or guardian the option to see multiple children in one account, message multiple providers for each child, manage lab results and schedule appointments to view on one calendar. Spectrum Health is one of the first systems to enable this feature.

Council members emphasized the need for user-friendly digital experiences, but most of all, they want to remind everyone there’s a human behind each device with a story to tell.

I always appreciate the engagement and involvement of our FAC and our Teen Council members. They have been involved in the development of our new, wireless Epilepsy Mobile Unit, as well as many operational issues and opportunities in both the hospital and ambulatory settings. The best part about working with this team is that they are quick to tell us when we do something well, but also just as willing to tell us when we can do things better! That kind of candor and collaboration demonstrates this is a highly reliable team!

Shari Schwanzl, Vice President

Thanks to all of our Council Members:

Council Members

  • Elissa Suarez-Soto, Chair
  • Liz Buist, Vice Chair
  • Holly Anderton
  • Rob Geer
  • Katie Johnson
  • Peter Johnson
  • Muneeba Khan
  • Karen McCarty
  • Mary Jo Pletzke
  • Jamie Schmitt

Helen DeVos Children’s Leadership

  • Shari Schwanzl, Vice President
  • Joan Rikli, Sr. Director
  • Amy Fox, Director
  • Krissy Hooson, Director
  • Bridget Menzel, Director
  • Tom Revitte, Director
  • Sarah Brodhead, Sr. Project Specialist
  • Lisa White, Administrative Assistant

I’ve always loved that our FAC is filled with fearless parents with one goal in mind, help improve the care of all children. These are parents that selflessly share their stories and struggles so that we may all learn from them. I appreciate how willingly the HDVCH teams receive constructive criticism. It is truly amazing to see how excited the staff is to receive ideas and changes from our council.

The most impactful memory is learning about the work that has been done in behavioral health for the children at HDVCH.

Elissa Suarez-Soto, Chair

Member Highlight - Holly Anderton

Can you please share your experiences with Spectrum Health?

We spend a lot of time utilizing the services of Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. It is our home away from home since Gwyneth’s birth in 2015 and four-month stay in the NICU. She was born premature, she has bilateral choanal atresia (which has been repaired four times), Cornelia de Lange syndrome (a disease that involves multiple congenital anomalies characterized by a distinctive facial appearance, prenatal and postnatal growth deficiency, feeding difficulties, psychomotor delay, behavioral problems and associated malformations that mainly involve the upper extremities), immunodeficiency and chronic lung disease. We continue to utilize the experts of Care Partners, rehab, palliative care, neurosurgery, immunology, pulmonology, neurodevelopment and urology.

What motivated you to be a part of the FAC?

I am motivated to be a part of the FAC because, while our experiences are generally great, we want to ensure all families receive the best care while learning to be an advocate for their child. Our family is deeply committed to ensuring HDVCH is the most family-centered, child-serving hospital there is!

What FAC accomplishments are you the proudest of?

I am proud of the work we have done around patient rounding while inpatient. This is so critical to helping families stay involved in their child’s care and ensuring their voice is a vital component to the plan. What makes me stay is hoping to translate the work we have done on the inpatient side to the outpatient world. I hope we can help families remain just as connected and their voice remains heard.