HDR selected to design North America’s first fully digital hospital in greater Toronto area
HDR, as a member of the Plenary Health Care Partnerships team, was selected to design Humber River’s new 1.7 million sq ft hospital in Toronto. The hospital will be the largest acute care hospital in the greater Toronto area and the first in North America to automate all of its operational processes. The project is the result of a partnership between Humber River Regional Hospital, Infrastructure Ontario, the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, and Plenary Health Care Partnerships. Plenary will design, build, finance and maintain the hospital for 30 years, with HDR providing full architectural and healthcare consulting services.
As the first fully digital hospital in North America, the hospital is designed to support the latest medical technology in a completely digital environment. Jerry Jeter, healthcare principal at HDR, notes that ‘although many hospitals have digital components, Humber River is the first hospital in North America to fully integrate and automate all of its processes; everything is done digitally’.
Upon entering the hospital, the ability to easily access data and information enables users to ‘connect’ from points such as kiosks situated throughout the hospital or on mobile devices anywhere in the building. Once in patient rooms, Integrated Bedside Terminals (IBTs) allow patients to control their environment, order restaurant-style room service, and communicate with caregivers and family members via video.
Doctors and nurses use voice recognition software to complete charts verbally, and smart bed technology monitors patients’ vital signs and updates electronic medical records immediately. Lab work specimens are delivered via pneumatic tubes, with results returned to hand-held mobile devices within minutes. While all this is happening, Automated-Guided Vehicles (AGVs) deliver supplies and equipment to units and clinics, allowing caregivers to fully devote their time to patient care. “The new facility is as automated as they come,” added Jeter. “The technology reinvented workflows and makes patient care a top priority.”
In addition to being digital, the hospital incorporates lean and ‘green’ sustainable design principles. The lean approach to planning emphasises the use of on-stage/off-stage areas inside the facility, as well as consistent floor layouts, standardised rooms and clinics, and centralised support spaces. Green design is realized by maximising daylighting opportunities, orienting the building to minimise heat gain, using sustainable materials and high-performance building systems, and incorporating green roofs on 50% of the roofs throughout the campus. The facility adheres to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system guidelines with a goal of achieving LEED Silver certification. The hospital broke ground on 2nd December 2011 and is scheduled to open in late 2015.