AURORA | Stroll through the lively atrium at Children’s Hospital Colorado and you don’t always feel like you’re in a hospital at all.
Vibrant colors are everywhere, a brightly-lit radio studio sits on one side and kids wheel by with wagons every few minutes.
It doesn’t have the drab seriousness of a beige-colored hospital for grown ups.
David Biggerstaff, the new COO at Children’s Hospital Colorado, said there’s something else present at pediatric hospitals.
“It’s a more hopeful place than an adult hospital typically is,” he said.
Biggerstaff, who started at Children’s this month and came to Colorado from Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, said that hopefulness is why he has no plans to leave the pediatric healthcare world.
“Looking in the adult side of the industry wasn’t even really an option,” he said in an interview last week at his sparsely-decorated office.
Biggerstaff said he was drawn to the healthcare world initially in the early 1990s because of the debate about healthcare reform around the 1992 election. That lead him to take an IT job at Baptist Hospital in Oklahoma City and he spent the next decade or so in the IT world of hospitals, largely focused on electronic medical records.
In Dallas, where he spent nine years at Children’s Medical Center, Biggerstaff worked in a variety of areas of the hospital, including service lines and ambulatory operations and clinical and support operations. He also served as the administrator of Children’s at Legacy Hospital and Outpatient Specialty Care Center in Plano, Texas.
In a statement announcing Biggerstaff’s hiring, Children’s Hospital Colorado president and CEO Jena Hausmann said he was a perfect fit.
“He will bring an important complement to the energy and culture of the organization. We are thrilled to have David join our team and partner with us to make Children’s Colorado the best children’s hospital in the country,” she said.
Biggerstaff said hospitals like Children’s are looking for ways to chip away at what can seem like ever-rising healthcare costs.
In the coming years, he said he sees hospitals relying more on more “telemedicine” to deliver care.
That may mean patients and doctors meeting over video chat and doctors making a diagnosis without ever meeting a patient in person.
Already, Biggerstaff said, specialists at Children regularly video chat with counterparts at other facilities around the country and assist with diagnosis.
For some patients and their parents, the idea of not actually seeing a doctor in person might be tough to swallow, he said. But others will likely be thrilled that they can meet with a world-class doctor from the comfort of their own home and without the disruption to their life that a hospital trip can be.
That could also reduce hospitalization time and transportation expenses, he said.
“It’s certainly a way to help manage those costs,” he said.
Biggerstaff said Children’s has the added benefit of sitting on the Anschutz Medical Campus, adjacent to University of Colorado Hospital, University of Colorado School of Medicine and soon a new veterans’ hospital. Even before he took the job at Children’s, Biggerstaff said he was well aware of the booming campus’ growing reputation.
“The breadth and depth of talent here is a remarkable resource,” he said.
And as for that nearly-empty office, Biggerstaff said he isn’t planning on being cooped up in there too often anyway.
“This is the worst place on campus to be,” he said with a laugh. “I love to go walk around, you can find something amazing here every single day.”