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Health Information Ahead of the Curve

The New Hospital at Rush is Driven by Innovation

When Rush University Medical Center began to plan the new hospital building set to open in January 2012, it had a challenging task: to see into the future.

"We wanted to plan for what is changing in medicine and see where we could push the envelope," says Anthony J. Perry, MD, a geriatrician at Rush who joined a team of clinicians leading the Rush Transformation, a 10-year project to enhance patient care through building new facilities, renovating existing buildings and implementing state-of-the-art technologies.

To chart their course, the team sought input from hundreds of doctors, nurses and other clinicians at Rush and visited other medical centers to see best practices for themselves. What emerged was a plan that not only incorporates the best in current practices, but also makes room for the evolution of how medicine will be practiced in the future.

A platform for collaboration

Current practices at Rush that bring clinicians from different specialties together on one case provided the transformation team with a model that was ahead of the curve for quality, patient-centered care. So the team focused on extending this model throughout the new hospital.

One example is the interventional platform, three floors that bring together surgical and interventional (minimally invasive) services, allowing specialists on these floors to work together more easily. And what's better for clinicians is also better for patients: Consolidating inpatient and outpatient services in a central location minimizes unnecessary patient movement, maximizes efficiency, and promotes quality outcomes and patient safety.

The ORs are designed to be used for any type of procedure and to adapt to future specialized needs. They are equipped with imaging equipment that allows surgeons and radiologists, for example, to perform needed imaging procedures, such as angiograms, during surgery without moving the patient to another location — a key element of patient safety.

In addition, during crucial surgeries, such as removing a cancerous tumor, high-definition, two-way audiovisual equipment in operating rooms will allow the surgeon to consult with the pathologist during surgery. Both can examine the tissue slides to determine if any cancerous cells remain and more tissue must be removed, all while the patient is still in the operating room.

Anticipating future technology

Excellence in medical care often depends on technology. And like academic medicine itself, the technology that supports it must stay ahead of the curve."We're making sure we have the infrastructure in place to evolve with rapidly changing demands," says Perry.

The rapidly changing technology that makes your flat-screen TV out-of-date within a few years holds true for advanced imaging tests, such as MRIs, that are continually improving to produce images with greater detail. And the greater the detail, the more information physicians have to diagnose problems such as stroke.

That's why the new hospital design anticipates future imaging developments by incorporating larger ORs that accommodate the new equipment and additional cabling capacity needs. This ensures that in the future, images will continue to be downloaded effortlessly.

While many technological innovations can only be anticipated, many others are already in progress. For example, Rush is one of fewer than 2 percent of hospitals in the U.S. that have comprehensive electronic medical record (EMR) systems. EMRs make registration and scheduling faster and easier for patients. And they improve safety and quality of care by giving providers the patient's latest and most complete information.

Rush is taking the next step in the hospital Tower by implementing EMRs at the bedside.

Designed for healing

Every facet of the new hospital was designed with one essential goal — to promote healing. "It will be an environment that enables excellent clinicians to make excellent decisions for their patients," Perry says. "That's how quality care happens consistently."

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