Greener pastures: Mass General's ambitious plans to compete in pediatric care

A pediatrician and his patient

Photo credit: Getty/shironosov

Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital, a world-renowned research institution and provider organization, aims to become more competitive in pediatric care.

Despite its reputation for being one of the top ranked hospitals in the nation, Mass General’s pediatric programs often are overshadowed by Boston Children’s Hospital, a leader in pediatric care. But executives have set their sights on differentiating Mass General’s pediatric care offerings, exploring the idea of consolidating their programs and “going green,” according to The Boston Globe.

The hospital’s specialty services for children currently are spread out among the adult programs at the main Boston campus. Ann-Christine Duhaime, a pediatric neurosurgeon at Mass General, is leading the effort to explore the idea of a consolidated “green” facility that also would inspire young patients to protect and appreciate the environment, The Globe reports.

Her ideas include an indoor forest so that all patient rooms can look out on a spacious atrium filled with trees and plants, according to the publication.

Hospital officials are allowing Duhaime to spend one day a week to work with design staff and examine eco-conscious practices that go beyond solar panels. For example, she is exploring the feasibility of ultra-smooth countertops to prevent bacteria from growing, which would mean cleaning staff wouldn’t have to use as many chemicals. She will also meet with physicians on staff and administrators during a two-day retreat sponsored by Mass General, according to the publication.

Although it’s too soon to tell whether the green facility will become reality, The Globe notes that Mass General has to do something to remain a player in the pediatric care world. Boston Children’s Hospital recently received state approval for a $1 billion expansion, which will provide the facility with close to 500 beds--five times the number of pediatric beds at Mass General.