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Moving Day

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A relocation project can be a daunting challenge for any healthcare organization. Aside from the physical demands of moving sensitive technological and biological equipment, strict compliance and regulatory standards have to be considered. Further, patient safety and satisfaction must be maintained amid a potentially turbulent hospital environment. Providence Hospital in Southfield, Mich., launched a significant relocation effort when the 453-staffed-bed facility moved two of its departments in April 2001. Its operating rooms were previously situated in two separate locations-one for outpatients, one for inpatients. The project's blueprints called for three new OR units along with the relocation of four units in an adjacent building. "In the new location, we combined them all for maximum utilization of staff, supplies and other efficiencies," says Linda Eckstein, administrative director of surgical services. One of the most important factors to consider when your facility is relocating is the volume of territory, Eckstein says. "A main challenge is the footprint of the new area and how much it allows you freedom of design," she says. Some hospitals create three-dimensional mock-ups to help conceptualize the space in which they'll be working before any equipment or furniture is moved, Eckstein adds.Despite the inevitable relocation hurdles, however, moving into new digs can be executed smoothly. Eckstein says mapping the project from the beginning phases of design and planning with a core group of representatives is crucial. "You need everyone's buy-in that you're building the right thing," she says. Once the facility is complete, it's helpful to create a plan of attack for the move so that everyone involved understands how the process will take place. Luke Denny, a project manager with facilities transition and relocation management firm CB Richard Ellis, says that a successful relocation depends heavily on finding common ground. "If you start on a path where everyone is on different pages, things will eventually go wrong," he says. -Matt Rogers