EwingCole's Geisinger hospital designed as an exemplar for US healthcare
Geisinger Health System has consistently been recognised for its healthcare and medical research contributions since its founding in 1915. In the 1980s, the system was among the first to incorporate electronic medical records technology. Philadelphia-based EwingCole, which has been designing for Geisinger Health System for more than 40 years, provided architectural, interior design, planning, and comprehensive engineering services for Geisinger's new Hospital for Advanced Medicine.
The Hospital, which welcomed its first patients in February of 2010, was designed to bring together specialised staff and cutting-edge technologies to care for some of the region's most critically ill patients - delivering complex, compassionate, and convenient care to the residents of Central Pennsylvania.
The Hospital's 9 storeys (308,000 sq ft) of flexible, patient-centered, technology-enhanced space include four operating rooms in a 32,000 sq ft surgical suite and Geisinger's Heart & Vascular Institute, where a team of cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons and vascular surgeons work together to offer industry-leading care.
Two inpatient nursing units offer 60 single-occupancy rooms. 30 of those rooms are acuity-adaptable, specifically designed and staffed to allow the patient rooms, beds, and care intensity to adapt as patients progress through the healing process. This means that patients stay in one room, surrounded by the same care team, for their entire stay. Family and other visitors quickly become familiar with the facility, allowing easier and less stressful navigation. These 30 rooms are also equipped with state-of-the-art wireless monitoring and communications systems to support the eICU Program. eICU technology continuously analyses patient condition data and alerts staff when a patient is trending toward a serious health event.
As part of the design process, EwingCole led workshops with patients, nurses, physicians, executives, and staff to achieve consensus on design and operational objectives. This process resulted in buy-in from all constituencies by the end of Schematic Design. Great attention was paid to reducing travel distances for nurses, to keep them refreshed and to reduce delays in care.
The Hospital also incorporates evidence-based design concepts. Daylight and natural vistas are featured in all patient rooms, staff offices and corridors, integrating the outdoors to create a bright, reassuring atmosphere. Hospitality-like materials and finishes such as wood-textured flooring and warm, earthy tones are used to accentuate the space's expansive, open design.
The USGBC LEED Silver-certified Hospital includes enhancements for optimised energy performance that have translated into 21% energy and cost savings. An innovative 6 MW electric boiler is tied into the campus electric metering system and modulates output in real time to level the campus demand curve. In conjunction with EwingCole's overall campus energy plan, post-expansion demand was limited to its pre-construction value, and Geisinger was better positioned for negotiations with their energy suppliers. Post-occupancy evaluations have confirmed improved outcomes (i.e. reduced rates of post-operative infection and ventilator-assisted pneumonia) at the new Hospital.
Said President Barack Obama, "We need to build on the examples of outstanding medicine at places... like Geisinger Health System in rural Pennsylvania... where high quality care is being provided at costs well below the national average...these are all islands of excellence and we need to make them the standard in our health care system."