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'Hospital of the Future's' Top 20 Features

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, August 23, 2012

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.


Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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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.