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'Hospital of the Future's' Top 20 Features

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, August 23, 2012

"Atriums win architecture awards, but they don't save lives," Sadler says.

More efficient use of nursing time, less time spent looking for needed equipment, safer bathroom configurations, natural light, and reductions in noise can all have a payoff that can lower errors and the need for care that won't get reimbursed.

Sadler says studies show how reducing the number of times a patient is handed off or must be wheeled around the hospital reduces errors and infections, and allowing families more time with patients can reduce length of stay.

Quality improvement through design

Which brings us back to Palomar. Its new 740,000 square-foot, 11-story building is part of a three-hospital system that makes up the largest hospital district in California. It serves Escondido, a 146,000-population suburb about 30 miles north of San Diego, replacing a 300-bed facility that is 62 years old. Palomar has a 500,000 patient catchment of 800 square miles.

Yes, the $522.7 million University Medical Center of Princeton, NJ, which opened May 22 with 231 beds, incorporates many of the same technologies. So does the Department of Defense's $1 billion, 120-bed Fort Belvoir Community Hospital in Virginia, which opened last September, or the $1.1 billion, 560-bed Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, which opened May 1.

But Palomar gets more points, Covert says, because among the 20 features that set it apart, the facility is incorporating seven or eight evidence-based features that no one else has.

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5 comments on "'Hospital of the Future's' Top 20 Features"


John Rinset (9/10/2012 at 2:25 PM)
Several comments. I think the list of 20 is great. However, I do think that creating the common areas so staff and physicians can mingle needs to be supplemented for a space for physicians and staff to hang out alone. There are conversations they need to have with each other staff to staff and physician to physician that may be compromised by the common area. The meeting space could move to the physician parking lot, but not ideal. Also, no mention about cafeteria space, bereavement space or the onboarding space(registration), and finally the ER. All key places for a better patient experience. Are there kiosk in the lobby for patient/visitor access to information? Just some thoughts. Is the facility prepared to meet the future? Hard to know in this technology driven world. But this is a great start. Thanks for sharing.

Kelly Kline Burnett (9/6/2012 at 11:26 PM)
A beautiful atrium, fantastic technology, a sterile elevator but where is the ultimate in health - fitness. Why isn't this facility extolling the virtues of exercise with encouraging the use of the stairway. We must change our paradigm. We must start mandating movement. Prescriptive medicines MUST combine with cardio routines. Movement is a good thing, movement is the greatest luxury. Afterall, if you have your health, you have everything.

Julie D. Taylor (8/27/2012 at 4:32 PM)
Great acknowledgement of a truly groundbreaking hospital. With all the emphasis on the design, it would be good to note that LA-based CO Architects worked with Palomar for years to create this facility.