From the June 2014 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
Jeff Hoss helped spearhead the design of Sanford Health's Moorhead Campus,
which opened on April 28, 2014. He talked with DOTmed HealthCare Business News about the design process and how new technology is being used to enhance patient satisfaction and staff retention.
HCBN: What was the process for deciding to build a new Moorhead campus?
Back in the winter of 2010, we did some market intelligence and looked at growth rates and demographics. Knowing that the current Moorhead facility was about 40 years old -which means its infrastructure needed updating - we thought it was time to look at building a new facility. So my team and I visited a number of innovative facilities across the country, from Alabama to Seattle, Washington, and drew up ten principles from those examples that we wanted to use to guide the design of the new campus.
HCBN: What were some of those principles?
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We wanted better way-finding for patients, so they never needed to turn more than once to find their way out of the building. We wanted as much natural lighting as we could get. We wanted to build an efficient layout that really put providers, doctors, nurses, the supplies that they needed, and the patients in close proximity to one another.
HCBN: Any others?
One of the most important principles was reducing patient wait times - one of our patients' biggest frustrations. So we sat at a table for about a year with several different scenarios trying to figure out how to eliminate as much wasted time as possible - and for our providers and staff as well as for patients.
HCBN: How are you going about eliminating that wasted time?
Our layout certainly helps, but even more exciting is the technology we're using. We're the first Sanford Health location to install a real time locating system, which most health care facilities use to track wheelchairs and aprons in radiology and things like that - straight asset tracking. But we asked ourselves: "How can we apply RTLS to predict workflow and better plan for variations that always are happening in the clinic - people coming in early, people coming in late. And how can we do this to help all of our caregivers anticipate work that needs to be done?"
HCBN: How does it work?
Well, we have RTLS applications that serve a quality purpose, an efficiency purpose, and a satisfaction purpose. This clinic facility is about 50,000 square feet of clinic space, and it includes internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics/ gynecology, and a few others. Because the clinic runs on an integrated model of health, it's important for all of these folks to know how the patient visit is progressing. With the RTLS hardware, our staff will know in real-time where a patient is and how best to anticipate their work. It'll also help us in administration to know how much and where to staff, or where we need more or fewer appointment times. If I were able to save one minute of a nurse's time per patient per day over the course of a year, we could open up enough minutes of an LPN's time to add several hundred more return visits. And that's really what we're talking about. "How do we provide better service and utilize the time we have in a better way?" Actually, we did a little study here, and if we did that using that example of the LPN's time, we found 1000 hours of staff time per year by using one minute per day per patient.
HCBN: Those sound like applications for improving quality and efficiency. What about the "satisfaction purpose"?
Based on what our patients told us, the closer we can stay to their schedule, the more satisfied they'll be. And if we can convert any time of a physician's or nurse's time to time spent visiting with a patient, then we will increase our patient satisfaction. What I'm interested in is creating a flow that's consistent and reproducible, that adds value to our patient visits, and that simplifies the work of our nurses and doctors. This technology allows them to prepare for variation in the schedule so there are no surprises - no unexpected overtime, etc. At the end of the day, if everybody can be home at the dinner table by 5:30? Well then, everybody wins.
Click here to view the hospital spotlight pictorial of Sanford Health Moorhead Campus.