A pediatric health system's “geek squad” service offering free I.T. support to families and patients was among programs and leaders honored by the Minnesota Hospital Association. Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota won the Innovation of the Year in Patient Care Award. Running six facilities in central Minnesota, Children's Hospitals and Clinics was honored for its "Geek Squad Precinct." The program provides free on-site tech support to patients and families during their hospital stay. Children's and Best Buy partnered in 2009 during a major hospital expansion to provide the technology infrastructure to equip patient rooms with consumer electronic products. The service helps children and families stay connected, while providing an entertainment outlet with gaming systems and DVDs. The Geek Squad provides the tech assistance to keep things working, from ensuring function of laptops and Skype to supplying cell phone chargers.
The “geek squad” project was promoted by Eric Dahlquist, a 17-year-old cancer patient. He began volunteering for Children's Hospitals and Clinics at age 12, just two years into his cancer treatments at Children's. He led a "Dollars for DVDs" campaign at his middle school and raised $1,300 to equip 12 hospital rooms with DVD players. Dahlquist was honored as Volunteer of the Year by the hospital association for his efforts.
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