The team dealt from the ideal, following up all perspectives, sharing ideas and knowledge among all stakeholders. Co-location of complementary services was a priority, with sterile processing next to surgery, for example, and every single aspect has a what/why relationship.
“Our goal was to develop a hospital that supports the provision of high-quality, compassionate healthcare at a technologically advanced, patient- and staff-friendly facility,” says W. Peter Daniels, president/chief executive officer of Elmhurst Memorial Healthcare.
St. Anthony Hospital posed several unique challenges. The original facility was 100 years old. To accommodate the desire of the hospital to maintain and expand on its status as the Trauma Center of the Rocky Mountain Region, and because its joint venture orthopedic hospital had to be in a particular market area, the project was relocated from its original home in downtown Denver to Lakewood, Colorado, a southwestern suburb.
In addition, the land, procured from the federal government and part of the Denver Federal Center, had a number of hazardous materials issues. To further complicate matters, construction began in 2008, just as the economy entered the stress of the financial crisis.
The project team was involved in the cleanup of the land, then on to design and construction. Key hospital leadership was involved initially; then, department managers reached out to the actual end users—physicians, nurses, and housekeeping staff—and came back with recommendations.
Once a detailed budget was established with multiple-priced alternatives, the project team sat down with top leadership to identify “must-have” program elements from a macro level, then worked backward, closely examining each component of the facility to see what was affordable. The luxury elements fell aside, and $500 million in programs was whittled down to $432 million, while maintaining key revenue generators and clinical components.
Blocking and stacking resulted in an efficient skeleton of the hospital where no beds were lost despite very tight budget constraints. Medical equipment was closely scrutinized, including equipment from the old hospital that could be reused. Even with the economic downturn, construction was never stopped. Close coordination with the construction manager allowed corresponding adjustments of the budget and schedule when necessary without affecting the delivery date.
“A lot of care, thought, and diligence went into this new campus,” says St. Anthony Hospital Chief Financial Officer David Thompson. “Because of that planning, we are able to provide our patients with the most advanced healthcare technology, world-class medicine, and extraordinary healthcare at an environmentally responsible facility.”
Starting a project during the financial crisis didn’t stop Swedish Medical System from realizing what it saw as a great opportunity: establishing its brand outside of the downtown Seattle area by developing a new greenfield campus in Issaquah, Washington, an affluent growth suburb 15 to 20 miles away—and accomplishing a new way of defining the delivery of healthcare in the process.
Wellness orientation was the system’s goal. Its vision for the future was to create a community center of excellence that is ambulatory-focused. To pull this off, the team was kept small and nimble. All members understood collaboration.
As far as design, Swedish Medical Center Issaquah is not your parents’ hospital. The first thing you see is an outpatient medical office building (MOB). The entire medical center is inviting to the public, easy to navigate, and provides a sense of community and a focus on wellness.
Co-locating team players during the construction process was key; they worked hand-in-hand during the design process and construction. Several elements were prefabricated off-site, including bed headwalls, utility racks, and exterior panels of the building, which helped to mitigate problematic winter weather conditions.