Deploying State-of-the-Art Technology at a New HospitalBy Tom Barnett Print
The objective was to build a state-of-the-art hospital that would fuse cutting-edge health care with the hospitality and service of the world’s finest hotels.
By Tom Barnett
In 2006, our IT department was offered the opportunity of a lifetime. The Michigan-based health care system where I work had just broken ground on an exciting new project. The objective was to build a state-of-the-art hospital that would fuse the cutting-edge health care of the Henry Ford Health System with the hospitality and service of the world’s finest hotels.
This was an ambitious project, to say the least. The IT team’s job was to plan, design and install all the information technology for the new facility. This was a huge undertaking, but it was more rewarding than we ever imagined.
miles northwest of Detroit is the township of West Bloomfield, Mich.,
where Henry Ford Health System
already had a large ambulatory clinic
situated on 160 acres of woodlands and
wetlands. The hospital planning team decided to expand from the existing
ambulatory facility and build a 300-bed
in-patient hospital that would be
built around the patient instead of
The motto for the new Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital was to “take health care beyond the bounds of imagination.”
As the director
for the IT program, I had the luxury
of being able to plan the program before physical
construction was under way. Two-and-a-half
years before the opening of the hospital, we started building the IT program
Our core IT team scoped and sized the program
and then tackled what
would need to be built.
Among the noteworthy
aspects of the program were the numerous facilitated sessions with
were building a hospital, the actual departmental employees
would not be hired
for another two years. As a result, we were gathering requirements, walking
through floor plans and checking likely workflow process
models with equivalent staff from other Henry Ford Health
feature that Henry Ford Health System and the construction company came up with
was the use of
actual full-size patient rooms constructed
in a local industrial building—that
included both general patient
along with their emergency room counterparts
us flexibility in trying out
technology with our proxy health care
What would work and what wouldn’t? How much space would it take up? Was it clumsy or awkward?
One thing to keep in mind is that it is difficult to approximate clinicians’ needs once they are in the finished hospital. Teams can predict how clinicians are likely to behave, but technology needs to adapt to changing workflows. So we met with pathology clinicians, pharmacists, nurses, case managers and others to plan.
basic planning pieces are critical to the success of
any program. First among these for us
was the work breakdown structure (WBS). In one diagram, we could break
down at a high level what we were to deliver for the hospital. From the WBS,
we were able to logically group similar work into
subprojects and know that all
the work was covered by someone’s project plan.
The WBS included areas for infrastructure, wireless, computing devices and networks. It also covered applications such as revenue, clinical and diagnostic systems.
Next was the integrated program schedule.The IT program
plan had to bridge the gap between the construction plan and the staffing and
hospital activation plans.
The construction contractor already had a
detailed building plan that crews were working
from. This would provide key input into the IT plan because the sequencing and
timing of the cable installation teams had to closely follow those of other
building mechanicals, such as HVAC,
electrical systems This
be completed before walls and drop ceilings were installed.
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