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Involving directly children and teenagers in improving health care: four pediatric hospitals and health institutions come together in the European project "VoiCEs", coordinated by Sant'Anna School. The Meyer Hospital in Florence is participating

Publication date: 23.05.2022
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To promote the involvement of children and adolescents in improving health care, four European pediatric hospitals (Children's University Hospital in Latvia, Meyer Children's Hospital in Italy, New Children's Hospital in Finland, Erasmus Mc Sophia Children's Hospital in the Netherlands) in collaboration with the Italian University Sant'Anna School in Pisa as project coordinator, and Unicef Italia, have launched a world-unique project "VoiCEs" (acronym for "Value of including the Children Experience for improving their rightS during hospitalization"), co-financed by the European Commission. As part of this project, from August 2022 children and teenagers will be asked to provide feedback on the services received and their experience at the hospital. The obtained results will be analyzed and used to create the most positive children’s experience in health institutions both locally and internationally.


Strengthen children’s and teenagers’ rights to be heard. The project aims to strengthen children’s and teenagers’ rights to be heard by promoting their involvement in the evaluation and improvement of healthcare quality in children’s hospitals. To achieve this goal, the Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies in Pisa, in particular within the MeS Lab - Management and Healthcare Laboratory of the Institute of Management, will coordinate activities to carry out a survey on pediatric patients’ experience at the hospital, and to offer a data platform to compare the experience of at least 16 thousand children and adolescents from the four pediatric hospitals involved. And, as the worldwide experience with adults shows, involving patients in the hospital experience also means achieving better treatment outcomes. The project also involves the design of an innovative tool to collect the point of view of pediatric patients in a playful and original way, to ensure direct involvement in expressing their point of view in an age-appropriate way.

Person-centered care. Participation in the project is another way for children's hospitals to promote person-centered care, which not only allows them to provide patients with quality health services, but also to promote the involvement of children, adolescents, and their parents in the process of making their hospital experience as positive as possible. The project will also raise awareness among children’s hospital staff and other stakeholders about the importance of listening to the voices of children and adolescents as patients, thus contributing to the improvement in health care services and hospital experience around the world.

“The Sant’Anna School is pleased to put his international experience in PREMS (acronym for Patient-Reported Experience Measures) for adult patients at the service of children, with the common purpose of identifying new and innovative tools allowing direct involvement of children and adolescents in improving their experience” comments Milena Vainieri, professor and coordinator of the MeS Lab - Management and Healthcare Laboratory of the Institute of Management of the Sant'Anna School in Pisa, involved in the new European project.

Identifying opportunities and learning from each other. All four participating hospitals will be able to compare the data obtained during the project, thus assessing the strengths of each hospital, identifying new development opportunities, and learning from each other. The collection of children’s and adolescents’ experiences in children's hospitals will start in August 2022.

The target group of "VoiCEs". Children and adolescents between the ages of 0 and 17 are the target group of the tools for participation at the center of the project, that will to be adapted to different age groups. For example, parents will be asked to fill out a questionnaire for those who cannot read yet, while those who have already learned to read and adolescents will be able to answer questions by themselves, as well by using innovative tools to improve engagement.


When the questionnaire will be sent and how to respond. During hospitalization in children’s hospital, the patient and his family will be informed and involved in the survey and will receive a link via e-mail or Sms within 24 hours from discharge. The web questionnaire can be opened and filled in using a computer, tablet or smartphone, and it will be available for 30 days. Once started answering the questions, it will be possible to save progress and continue later. The innovative tool, on the other hand, will be completed directly during hospitalization, through games or mobile applications. The questions will cover the children’s experience in the hospital, from the admission process to discharge. The results will be made available in real time to hospital staff, allowing them to set both relevant short-term goals and necessary long-term improvements.

Results at European and local level. The European Children’s Hospital Organization (ECHO), the Italian Association of Pediatric Hospitals (AOPI) and the Picker Institute in Oxford are also involved in the project offering scientific collaboration, and they will support the communication of the project’s results at European and local level. 

More about the project HERE.