Treatments & Research

Ahead of the Curve

Natalie is one of many patients benefiting from the compassion and expertise at Shriners Children's.

A Q&A with Chief Medical Officer Frances A. Farley, M.D., about innovation at Shriners Children’s

Chief Medical Officer Frances A. Farley, M.D.

In a fast-evolving healthcare landscape, Shriners Children’s is adeptly leveraging technology and compassionate expertise to ensure that every child’s needs are met with efficiency and care. With a keen eye on the future, Shriners Children’s is at the forefront of a transformative journey in pediatric healthcare. We spoke with Chief Medical Officer Frances A. Farley, M.D., to discuss how Shriners Children’s is tailoring its resources to not only meet but exceed these evolving demands.

Q: How is Shriners Children’s meeting today’s challenges and opportunities?

A: We need to stay ahead of the national trends in healthcare. There has been an evolution toward outpatient care for a number of years. Currently, there is a shift in patient expectations. Patients are looking for more convenient, more localized access to healthcare. It is no different for our families. Our strategic vision is to treat more kids in more places.

Parents today also want providers to guide them through their child’s healthcare experiences, making the medical journey easy and simple to understand. To meet these needs, we are streamlining our workforce and investing in resources that enhance our ability to provide more efficient, local, high-quality care for our patients and families.

Q: What systemwide initiatives enhance the patient experience?

Long-time patient Emmy
takes a picture with her
favorite doctor! Chief of
Staff Scott Kozin, M.D.,
has cared for Emmy
since she was a baby born with symbrachydactyly.
Despite her limb
difference, Emmy has
lived a full life playing the
violin, playing basketball
and dancing.

A: We are very excited about the Shriners Children’s Medical Group, which is the largest medical group for pediatric orthopedists in the country. This structure is a natural evolution of a healthcare system that is moving away from being hospital-centric.

What does having a medical group mean for our moms and dads who want the best and most convenient care for their children? This approach allows us to come together and engage with the doctors, physician assistants and nurse practitioners at our locations to elevate standards of medical expertise, safety protocols and overall patient experience. The medical group enhances our ability to provide the most innovative and efficient care to more children.

We are also making a huge investment in our infrastructure. Over the past year, Shriners Children’s transitioned to Epic, an electronic medical record system that enhances the way our sites share and store patient records. For patients and staff alike, Epic provides great efficiencies and enables our clinicians to communicate with other providers with more ease, as well as tap into a wealth of knowledge with one of the largest healthcare databases in the world. Epic is the same medical record system used by most children’s hospitals, so our move brings us in line with other healthcare facilities and makes the medical journey easier for our families to navigate.

With 80% of our patients with orthopedic conditions and an increasing number of patients with burns and/or reconstructive surgery needs having migrated to outpatient care, we prioritized the Epic rollout for our outpatient departments and ambulatory clinics. We are now bringing Epic to our inpatient units and operating rooms, providing the same enhancements to our families they have experienced on the outpatient side.

Q: As the chief medical officer for Shriners Children’s, what are your priorities?

The dynamic “Superhero
Staff” with Kenidee at
Shriners Children’s Chicago.

A: I continue to have my eye on the highest quality of care for our pediatric patients – many of whom come to us with the most complex medical conditions and injuries. We are focused on cultivating the best clinicians who desire to be at our locations practicing specialized medicine. We are forming physician work groups that will examine areas such as practice management, clinic operations, safety and research.

Quality of care speaks to the level of expertise of our medical teams, but quality also refers to meeting our patients’ overall needs. People want to be taken care of at their convenience, closer to home. They want shorter wait times at their clinic appointments and easy communication between their Shriners Children’s doctors and their other providers. The investment we are putting into Epic and the exciting synergies provided by our medical group will keep Shriners Children’s at the forefront of healthcare as we move into the future, helping more children in more places.

Dr. Farley has been the chief medical officer at Shriners Children’s since 2021. She is an orthopedic surgeon who received her medical degree from Weill Cornell University Medical College and spent 26 years practicing pediatric orthopedics at the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. She served as chief of the pediatric orthopedic surgery service for 18 of those years before joining the team at Shriners Children’s.

A speech therapist conducts a detailed examination of a
new patient with a cleft lip at Shriners Children’s Chicago.