Growth and Technology



EPIC Go-Live

After nearly two years of work, Children’s went “live” as planned on Epic on March 4, the date selected more than 22 months ago. This new information platform allows Children’s to align patient records, billing and workflows throughout our services, which helps us provide better service and care. During the initial weeks, as we adjusted to the platform, we achieved 97% of our pre-live financial baselines, the teams resolved over 9,000 issues, and clinics kept visit volumes near normal. During the nearly two-year process of transitioning to Epic, thousands of Children’s team members devoted their time and best energies to get Epic live.


Deep Brain Stimulation for Progressive Dystonia

Curtis Rozzelle, M.D., and Emily Gantz, M.D., performed Children’s of Alabama’s first deep brain stimulation procedures for progressive dystonia patients. This innovative therapy has shown promising results in several pediatric patients with limited treatment options.


New Transnasal Endoscopy Procedure

Children’s was among the first 10 pediatric medical centers in the nation to use a new endoscope that can make transnasal endoscopy faster and easier for some patients with eosinophilic esophagitis. The device, manufactured by EvoEndo, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last year. Children’s began using it in June 2023.


Siemens Magnetom Vida 3T MRI Scanner

The Imaging Department at Children’s of Alabama has a new MRI scanner, the Siemens Magnetom Vida 3T MRI. Ambient lights that change colors also were installed in the ceiling, and the gantry was covered in a skin with a hot air balloon theme. Both of these updates help reduce children’s fear and anxiety about having an MRI exam.


New XR Technology in Ortho

Children’s of Alabama has new XR technology in its sports medicine clinic that enables specialists to quickly determine the best treatments to get young patients back to their chosen game. The new equipment, which is useful in about 75% of pediatric cases, includes an easily positioned moveable arm with a 135-degree range. It has larger plates that can capture wider images of patients’ bones and soft tissue, allowing more comprehensive images while using less radiation.


Interventional Pulmonology

In 2023, the Children’s pulmonology team began using flexible bronchoscopic cryotherapy, an interventional pulmonology procedure that, until recently, was offered only to adult patients. It involves performing a bronchoscopy and then using a special probe to freeze a foreign body, piece of tissue or blood clot and pull it out for examination. “Previously, it could take hours because we often wouldn’t get the whole thing at once,” pediatric pulmonologist Ryne Simpson, M.D., said. “Now we’re able to complete these procedures in significantly less time, which has been pretty amazing for the patients.”



New Psychiatric Area in the Emergency Department

The Nature Hall, a new 16-bed psychiatric area within the emergency department (ED), opened in March. This new area provides 24/7 care for children and adolescents who come to the ED in need of mental health services. The Nature Hall was added to address a 69% increase in the volume of patients seen in the Children’s ED over the last five years. The Nature Hall offers a safer and more secure environment for children and adolescents with mental health concerns, ensuring that they receive the care and support they require in a timely and compassionate manner.


Pediatrics West Hueytown

Children’s broke ground on a new practice in late 2023. It will replace Pediatrics West Bessemer when it opens in the fall of 2024. Five full-time, board-certified pediatricians will see patients there. It will be open six days a week. “Children’s of Alabama is excited to build a practice in Hueytown and to be a part of such a growing area in western Jefferson County,” said Sandy Thurmond, vice president of Primary Care Services at Children’s of Alabama. “This practice will allow us to continue to serve the community by providing world-class healthcare, one patient at a time.”


Approval for Future Renovations

The State Health Planning and Development Agency approved a Certificate of Need (CON) by Children’s of Alabama for renovations that will allow the hospital to more effectively care for patients in behavioral health, critical care and the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The project involves building out the 12th floor of the Benjamin Russell building—which is currently shelled space—to serve as 50-bed unit for critical care patients. To better serve behavioral health patients, the hospital will renovate the 5th floor of the McWane building and operationalize 11 additional beds for the unit. Six bassinets will be added to the NICU. These projects, which will cost nearly $55 million, will be completed in the fall of 2026.