Nearing the one-year anniversary of the opening of the Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis, members of the design team took part in a roundtable discussion at this year’s Healthcare Design Conference in San Diego to share how new design features and operations were performing against expectations.

When the new 1.2 million-square-foot replacement facility and health campus opened in December 2013, it featured new work stations for staff, all private rooms for patients, a new emergency department layout, and a new aesthetics package, among other features.

Lee Ann Blue, chief nursing officer and executive vice president, patient care services, Eskenazi Health (Indianapolis) and Paul Strohm, senior vice president and global healthcare director for HOK and principal-in-charge on the project (St. Louis), talked about what’s been working, the results they’ve seen so far, and what still needs some improvement.

One of the attendees asked if the facility’s decision to go with all same-handed rooms was playing off.

Blue said the design is easier on the staff and scheduling needs since nurses don’t need to be trained on how different rooms work.“It allows me the flexibility to send staff where I need them to go,” she said.

Other room features are paying off, too. Inside the patient rooms, the head wall and the bathroom share the same wall and there’s a continuous rail leading from the bed to the toilet. These design features along with hourly rounding have resulted in a 28 percent drop in falls, Blue said.

In addition:

  • Eskenazi went from open wards to private, acuity-adaptable rooms and an interventional OR at its new facility. As a result, patient transitions are down from 3.5 to less than 1.5 times.
  • One of the design objectives was to address noise levels by switching to private patient rooms and having the staff use a wearable phone-based alarm system that sends text and alerts to the staff, reducing frequent alarm noises and distractions. Patient satisfaction scores have gone from 63 percent to more than 80 percent, Blue said.
  • Staff scores have improved, too, based on the new design features and work systems. For example, lifts were installed in a majority of the patient rooms and the hospital has reported no muscular-skeletal injuries among staff since opening.
  • Sinks located right inside the door in the patient rooms have helped improve hand washing compliance from 43 percent to more than 75 percent.
  • The former hospital saw women use its prenatal care services, but then choose a competitor’s nearby facility to deliver their babies. With the new OB floor’s private rooms, in-room showers, and warm, colorful materials palette, that trend is reversing. “Now, they’re staying with us,” Blue said.

Strohm said some of the misses in the facility have included a sophisticated patient room lighting system. With an aggressive schedule to open, there wasn’t as much time for training staff on how to use the system, which worked by simply waving your hand in front on the switch. Instead, staff pushed all the buttons trying to get the lights to work, which ended up shutting down the lighting system.

Eskenazi is continuing to try to improve its “treat and street” time in the emergency department, which is around three hours, as well as reduce the time it takes to admit patients in the ED, which has dropped from 18 hours at the old facility to seven hours at the new hospital. The goal, the speakers said, is five hours or less.

For more on the project, check out:

Eskenazi Health Embraces Its Civic Duty

Eskenazi Health Creates A Feast For The Senses

Podcast: Design Goals Of A New Public Safety-Net Hospital

Eskenazi Health: Art history