Concealing operations from public view
16. Of the 17 elevator bays, several are dedicated exclusively for sterile use or staff use so operations the patient shouldn't be exposed to—patient transport, laundry, food service and supply deliveries—take place out of public view.
17. Families have a place in the ICU to sleep next to the patients, night and day, with room service.
18. A time-saving circuit connects 80 pneumatic tube stations allows medication and paperwork to zip through the hospital.
19. Patients can control lighting, TVs, room service, windows, temperature and other ambient aspects of their rooms from their beds. All patient rooms are configured identically, enabling providers to always know where things are.
20. Outdoor garden areas on every floor give patients and their families the ability to walk outside without having to go downstairs and leave the building.
Covert emphasizes the project's biggest achievement is one he likes to call "the f word," by which he means flexibility. "The thing that was my greatest concern when we started down this process was that when we were finished, the world would have changed," he says. He feared Palomar would be like so many other facilities, obsolete.
Palomar has set itself up as the most recent proving ground for whether these design changes and dollars spent do improve quality outcomes. So the quality of so many hospitals of the future, still a glimmer in their designers' eyes, depends on a careful look at Palomar to make sure they did get this right.