Community open house set for April 26 to celebrate opening of Kay Jewelers Pavilion

Kay Jewelers PavilionHere’s your first chance to step inside Akron’s newest gem and celebrate our community’s most precious jewels – kids.

Patient families, friends and the general public are invited to take their first look inside Akron Children’s Hospital’s new $180 million Kay Jewelers Pavilion at a community open house from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 26.

The open house will include:

  • guided tours of our new ER, NICU, GOJO Outpatient Surgery Center and special delivery unit for high-risk newborns
  • kids’ games and activities, including life-size versions of popular board games and a photo booth
  • entertainment, including performances by local kids, puppeteers, costumed characters and a bubble artist
  • Doggie Brigade volunteers

Attendees will also have an opportunity to draw pictures that will become part of a permanent, public artwork at the hospital.

A Look Inside

Kay Jewelers Pavilion lobby

Kay Jewelers Pavilion lobby

The interior of Kay Jewelers Pavilion features a “backyard” theme echoing the joys of childhood and the idea that Akron Children’s has been a treasure in greater Akron’s own backyard since 1890.

“Akron Children’s was founded 125 years ago this year as a day nursery and has grown into a regional health system with the depth and breadth of clinical services that truly enable us to serve all of the children who need us,” said Bill Considine, president and chief executive officer of Akron Children’s. “Every detail of Kay Jewelers Pavilion has been carefully planned with our patient families in mind – and we are thrilled to finally open our doors and invite everyone to see this exciting investment into our children’s well being.”

In following the backyard theme, our new NICU is “The Treehouse” – a soothing, healing environment where families can be comfortable while neonatologists and specially trained nurses care for the youngest and most fragile of infants.

In keeping with the backyard theme of the Kay Jewelers Pavilion, our new ER has a puddle theme

In keeping with the backyard theme of the Kay Jewelers Pavilion, our new ER has a puddle theme

Our ER, nicknamed “The Puddle,” was especially designed to facilitate a more natural flow of admissions.

The GOJO Outpatient Surgery Center, “The Sandbox,” will open with 4 operating rooms equipped for a variety of outpatient procedures, including ENT, ophthalmology, urology, dental and some plastic surgery cases.

Our new labor, delivery and recovery center, known as “The Garden,” is designed for cases when a baby is considered at high risk and in need of pediatric specialists the moment they are born.

New medical building is parent approved

Beth Tenda with her children at the groundbreaking

Beth Tenda with her 3 children at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Kay Jewelers Pavilion.

When Beth Tenda brings one of her children to Akron Children’s new ER, she’ll know every nook and cranny of the space down to the most obscure detail.

That’s because Beth helped design the hospital’s $200 million Kay Jewelers Pavilion as part of the lean project delivery process.

Beth and other parents provide design input to the architects during a focus group in 2012.

Beth and other parents provide design input to the architects during a focus group in 2012.

The process began 2 years ago when doctors, nurses, and other members of the care team met and brainstormed about the ideal ER and trauma bay, neonatal intensive care unit and outpatient surgery center.

Beth and several other parents served as the voice of patient families in the process.

They collected and studied data, looked at pictures of other children’s hospitals, worked with architects and engineers, and built and tested simulated space using cardboard walls.

The goals were to build the best space for patient care, improve efficiency, minimize mistakes and keep the construction on time and under budget.

“Wow, this is just as we had planned it,” said Beth, who was on a tour of the building several months before it opened to the public. “The door spaces, the room spaces are perfectly as I envisioned.”

Adopting children with special needs

After raising 2 sons, Beth still felt that pull to parent and adopted 3 children with special needs. Born prematurely, they are now between the ages of 8 and 10 and require the care of pulmonology, GI, sleep, and neuro-developmental specialists.

Beth estimates she has made more than 50 visits to Akron Children’s ER over the past few years.

“Parents carry stuff – diaper bags, purses, infant carriers, toys. I typically had a stroller or wheelchair and not all of us are petite so, in our meetings, I always questioned door space and room space,” said Beth. “You don’t want to be left in an exam room that feels like closet.”

Beth also got to provide input on the interior design of Kay Jewelers Pavilion at a parent town hall meeting in 2013.

Beth also got to provide input on the interior design of Kay Jewelers Pavilion at a parent town hall meeting in 2013.

Beth also recommended family restrooms, glass doors in the ER (where patients are less likely to feel forgotten) and a larger security presence in the ER waiting room.

Beth Tenda with Dr. Emily Scott at a design workshop for the ER

Beth and Dr. Emily Scott at an ER design workshop

“Two years ago, I would guess I made an ER visit at least every other month so I know it well,” she said. “I’ve been there when it was standing room only. So I am very excited to see the new ER in action. It’s all about flow, triaging the patients based on symptoms, and getting them treated sooner. Registration will take place in the exam room, so that means one less stop.”

Beth contributed about 100 hours to the project, attending town hall meetings in the evenings, at least 4 all-day design workshops at a warehouse, and many other sessions.

Beth participates in a simulation workshop for the outpatient surgery center

Beth participates in a simulation workshop for the outpatient surgery center

“You see different ideas and I learned so much about how all of these people interact to provide care to keep kids healthy. It was an eye opener,” she said. “There is so much that goes on behind the scenes to make the typical ER visit or the typical medical appointment happen.”

Beth’s experience as a member of the design team has impacted how she views her day-to-day life.

“I look at things differently now,” she said. “Whether I am shopping or on a doctor’s appointment myself, I get annoyed if processes are not consumer friendly. Getting my kids ready for bed is now clockwork.”

Beth at the NICU town hall meeting in 2012

Beth at the NICU town hall meeting in 2012

Beth continues to volunteer as a parent advisor at the hospital, providing input on various hospital committees and performance improvement projects.

“In many places and in many ways, parents are given the opportunity to have a voice in their children’s medical care or education and we need to use those opportunities,” Beth said. “Whenever I walk into that new building, I think I will want to pat myself on the back and say, ‘I did this!’”

Team planning high-risk birth center has 182 collective years of OB experience

Scott Radcliff, of Hasenstab Architects, leads a brainstorming session.

Scott Radcliff, of Hasenstab Architects, leads a brainstorming session.

Last month, Akron Children’s announced that it would dedicate a floor in its new building to high-risk deliveries – a milestone in the hospital’s 123-year history.

This has long been a dream of hospital leaders like President and CEO Bill Considine, as well as the doctors who head up the hospital’s maternal fetal medicine and fetal treatment centers and neonatal intensive care unit.

Now comes the work to make this dream a reality.

Dr. Anand Kantak has long supported the plan to bring high-risk deliveries to Akron Children's as the ideal family-centered care.

Dr. Anand Kantak has long supported the plan to bring high-risk deliveries to Akron Children’s as the ideal family-centered care.

The first steps in planning the new space, which will be on the 4th floor of the medical building already under construction, took place Aug. 5 and 6.

A team of about 20 doctors, nurses, architects, administrators and Lean Six Sigma experts participated in a kaizen (Japanese word for “rapid improvement”) to give key stakeholders a say in how the space is designed.

A high-risk OB patient also participated the first day.

“Delivering babies on our campus may be uncharted territory for us, yet the doctors and nurses in this room have a collective 182 years of experience delivering babies at other hospitals,” said Lisa Aurilio, vice president for patient services and chief nursing officer.

Chief Nursing Officer Lisa Aurilio has also participated in kaizens for the ER and NICU.

Chief Nursing Officer Lisa Aurilio has also participated in kaizens for the ER and NICU.

The plan is to deliver approximately 100 babies per year when prenatal diagnosis determines the baby to be at risk and in need of immediate medical intervention by pediatric surgeons or other specialists upon birth.

This would include babies with congenital heart and neural tube defects, diaphragmatic hernias, and abnormalities that may affect the airway.

The team began by creating a vision statement for the new center. This was done by participants writing responses to prompts like, “I see…”, “I hear…”, “I think…” and “I feel….”

The input of the team members suggest they want to create an environment that's inviting, comfortable and focused on the highest quality of care.

The input of the team members suggest they want to create an environment that’s inviting, comfortable and focused on the highest quality of care.

Each team member was given 5 blue and 5 red dots to place on photos of the interiors of other birthing centers across the country. The exercise indicated the team is partial to soft rather than bright colors.

“They steered away from primary colors and starkness in favor of wood tones, a spa-like feel and interiors that convey home and comfort,” said Sherry Valentine, a project leader for Akron Children’s Mark A. Watson Center for Operations Excellence.

Sherry Valentine, Lean Six Sigma deployment leader, facilitates a group session.

Sherry Valentine, Lean Six Sigma deployment leader, facilitates a group session.

Other activities focused on issues of patient experience and staff work flows.

They looked at the proximity of operating rooms to patient rooms, how many steps doctors and nurses have to walk, storage space, the size and comfort level of the patient rooms, and the various “points of entry” for patients.

While most of these deliveries will be scheduled through maternal fetal medicine, the team also has to plan for the unexpected, including patients arriving via transport, 911 ambulance arrivals, and even the occasional “walk-in” mother-to-be in labor.

Jennie Evans, a registered nurse and medical planner with HKS Architects, offers insight.

Jennie Evans, a registered nurse and medical planner with HKS Architects, offers insight.

The team will make key decisions for the public/shared spaces, such as the waiting rooms, 3 ORs for C-sections, and 6 labor/delivery/recovery/postpartum rooms, which must also flexible enough to become 2 intensive care rooms and an isolation room, if needed.

Several participants talked about how the team “gelled” instantly and how they feel privileged to have a role in a history-making venture for Akron Children’s.

Drs. Melissa Mancuso and Stephen Crane are two of Akron Children's high-risk obstetricians.

Drs. Melissa Mancuso and Stephen Crane are two of Akron Children’s high-risk obstetricians.

“We are all very invested in this,” said Dr. Stephen Crane, director of maternal fetal medicine. “We have dreamed about this for years. It’s the right thing to do for our patients.”

Dr. Melissa Mancuso, co-director of the fetal treatment center, says the ability to perform high-risk deliveries will, over time, enable Akron Children’s to offer new treatment options, such as laser therapy for twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, ex utero intrapartum treatment (EXIT) procedure, fetal therapy for cardiac conduction abnormalities and in utero release of amniotic bands.

“Of course the best reason for doing this is it keeps moms with their babies and keeps families together under one [hospital] roof. You can’t put a value on that,” said Dr. Mancuso.

That’s not to say the process will be easy.

“The most challenging aspect of this for our hospital is thinking beyond babies and children as patients,” said Aurilio. “Now mothers will be our patients as well, and that has implications for everything we do from insurance contracts to medical coding to laboratory procedures.”

Going, Going, Gone (Video)

Akron Children's Hospital is building a new $200 million critical care tower on this site.

Akron Children’s Hospital is building a new $180 million critical care tower on this site.

Workers from Ray Bertolini Trucking demolished the former Wally Waffle building at Locust and West Exchange streets March 2.

It is the first of several buildings along Locust Street to be taken down in the upcoming weeks to make way for Akron Children’s new $200 million critical care tower. The tower will include a new emergency department, neonatal intensive care unit and outpatient surgical suites.

Constructed circa 1913, the building served as the home of United Vacuum Cleaners for nearly 60 years. Other previous tenants included Meeker’s Kitchen, Brendan & Finn’s Irish Pub, and Ed Niam’s Parkette Restaurant.

Wally Waffle has re-opened its restaurant in Akron’s Highland Square neighborhood.

Parents weigh in on design of future NICU

Moms who consider themselves “NICU grads” received a detailed look at how Akron Children’s new NICU is taking shape and weighed in on some remaining questions posed by the architects.

About a dozen parents attended a focus group Nov. 13, led by HKS architect Rachel Saucier and HKS interior designers Beck Luthman and Andrea Sponsel.

Saucier showed parents the most up-to-date architectural renderings of the hospital’s new critical care tower, which will also include a new ER and outpatient surgical suite.

She also showed NICU floor plans, which will include 75 private rooms, including a few to accommodate twins.

“From an industry perspective, single rooms are the way to go,” said Saucier. “They are family-centered and say, ‘We want you to be here.’ Plus, they support what the infant needs. Private rooms allow you to adjust the light, sound and temperature for each infant’s needs.”

The current floor plans show all patient rooms along the perimeter so each room will have a window view.

Each room will include the baby’s isolette and a reclining chair that’s ideal for a parent practicing “kangaroo care,” skin-to-skin cuddling which has been proven beneficial for newborns in many ways. Each room will also have a sleep sofa, TV and a private bathroom.

Infants arriving from either helicopter or ground transport will reach the floor via centrally-located elevators.

“One of the biggest drivers behind our design is to move the infants as little as possible,” said Saucier.

The architects were looking for parent feedback in several areas: what they especially liked about the current NICU and what they wanted in the future NICU’s private rooms and shared spaces.

Megan Pollock, who spent 10 weeks in the NICU with her son, would love to recreate the look and feel of the hospital’s Reinberger Family Center.

“Some people spend weeks, if not months, in the NICU,” she said. “As much as possible, you want it to have the comfort of home.”

Parents asked about the possibility of having a chapel/meditation room in the NICU and if siblings would be allowed in the private patient rooms.

Mary Beth Fry suggested the name “quiet room” instead of “consultation room.”

“Consultation room sounds scary to me,” she said. “It sounds like a place I am going to get bad news.”

The architects asked parents to write comments on colorful Post-It Notes, using the prompts, “I think.” “I hear.” “I feel.” “I see.”

Post-it notes shared on a wall in the room expressed thoughts such as:

  • “I see my baby here, comfortable and welcoming.”
  • I feel my privacy is being respected.”
  • I hear by baby’s siblings playing with toys nearby.”
  • I think, Wow, this is in Akron?”

Saucier said the meeting was worthwhile in that the parents voiced several ideas the architects need to consider more closely.

“A hot topic was having a good place to clean and store moms’ breast-pumping equipment,” she said. “Security [keeping babies safe yet allowing parents easy access to them] was also very top of mind for these parents. It’s something we have talked about but this meeting really reinforced the importance of getting it right.”

Learn more about Akron Children’s Building on the Promise project.

No kid wants surgery, but here’s to making the process the best it can be

How do we build a same-day surgery center that satisfies the needs and desire of everyone – patients, patient families, doctors, anesthesiologists, nurses and surgical support teams?

As Akron Children’s Hospital moves forward with its plans to build a $200 million critical care tower, teams continue to meet, brainstorm and test out architectural designs in a true-to-scale setting during weeklong Kaizens. Kaizen is a Lean term that refers to improving processes continually by making incremental changes.

Parents Beth Tenda and Judy Doyle participate in the Kaizen to design the new outpatient surgery space.

In September, a team representing outpatient surgery gathered in a warehouse, where cardboard-like walls defined surgical suites, recovery rooms, pre-op areas and other spaces and allowed doctors, nurses and patients to move through their typical day.

As the Kaizen began, several issues were front and center:

  • The need to create the ideal number of surgical suites based on current patient volumes as well as future growth.
  • The need to keep the ORs running as efficiently as possible, taking into consideration the ebb and flow of higher and lower volume procedures, as well as planned and emergency cases.
  • Focus on flow – How much walking will be required for patient families, as well as the doctors and nurses?
  • Movement of supplies in and out of the ORs. Surgical instruments come into the room sterile and the proper equipment must be assembled for each case, whether it’s an ENT procedure, an eye surgery or an orthopedic case.
  • Providing a calm environment that promotes privacy.

As the week began, it felt like this was an impossible task to come up with a floor plan that addressed all of these concerns and made everyone – from the anesthesiologists to the surgeons and the surgical support team – happy.

We were reminded again that Akron Children’s is a dedicated pediatric hospital and that children are not “just small adults.” The team worked to ensure excellent sight lines of patients in the recovery unit design to enhance patient safety.

“Unlike an adult hospital, children in the recovery unit don’t necessarily stay in bed,” said clinical coordinator Tina Sanzone, RN, BSN. “We need to have patients in view to ensure patient safety.”

The team went through phases of anticipation, discouragement and hope as each day welcomed success, frustration and new architectural drawings of the space. Each layout, when constructed three-dimensionally, generated dissatisfaction that the ideal plan still had not been developed.

Until Day Four.

When the exhausted team found their architectural team had worked overnight to meld the best ideas from two of the previous designs, they realized they finally had a winner.

The last design greatly improved patient flow. It offered easy access to storage. Doctors and nurses were not wasting extra steps within surgical suites or between them and other key spaces. The plan built in flexibility for growth and change down the road.

“The translation of design from paper to three dimensions can be eye opening,” said Beth Carr, MSN, MBA, RN, director of Nursing for Surgical Services. “When you see a design on paper, you envision it to work correctly. It’s not until you are actually in the space, and moving within it, that you realize it may not be ideal. The process takes time and patience. When you think there are no options, options present themselves.”

Parents, kids create wish list for their ‘dream’ hospital

In a free-wheeling exchange of ideas, the parents who participated in a focus group to help design Akron Children’s Hospital’s new critical care tower clearly love much about the current facility. They hope to see Akron Children’s culture preserved as it grows bigger.

Parents used phrases like, “comfortable,” “bright,” “warm,” “clean” when asked, “What should be the first impression of Akron Children’s?”

Sarah Sanford said she hopes the new hospital tower will remain a place where “everyone you meet with knows your child.”

Megs Pollock and Jackie Smolinski agreed with that sentiment, adding that they didn’t want the new building to be “too sterile,” or to “look like an airport terminal.” In other words, even if it is big, make it feel small.

Parents attending the session included mothers who had newborns in Akron Children’s NICU as well as those who come to the hospital often with children who have complex healthcare needs.

While the parents talked about what they wanted in the new building, a group of kids were in a nearby room drawing pictures of their “dream” hospital and sharing their own opinions.

While Michelle Ott talked about the importance of having automatic, wheelchair-accessible doors that her daughters could open themselves, 13-year-old Jenna Ott drew a picture of a hospital room with a canopy bed, a “gummy bear” bean bag chair, and lots of pink and purple.

Jenna’s design was conservative compared to other kids who envisioned robots, roller coasters, an ice rink and a beach incorporated into the new hospital.

“I love that kids were invited to this event and that they have a say,” said Michelle.

Jenna has had 20 surgeries so far in her young life and older sister, Alix, who also attended, has undergone more than 50 surgeries. The Ott girls were excited to think that they may actually see some of their ideas in place when the hospital tower opens in 2015.

The parents were also asked what they appreciated about the existing facilities, what they would like to change, and the best way to create a healing environment.

Parents associated healing with kind-hearted, friendly people, serene colors, natural light, music and water.

MaryBeth Fry said NICU moms would get hope from seeing pictures of preemies juxtaposed with pictures of the same children doing well in middle school, high school or college.

Even if the NICU gets bigger – with individual rooms – Fry and the other moms want the new space to balance their need for privacy while giving them the opportunity to meet, develop a support group and maybe even become lifelong friends.

“Research shows that when you reduce stress for parents, you reduce stress for the child,” HKS architect, Rachel Saucier, told the group.

‘Saving lives’ in a mock trauma room

It’s 3 a.m. in the ER when the call comes in. There’s been a car accident. A 16-year-old boy – unrestrained and the driver – is being life-flighted. He is in respiratory distress and has head injuries.

His 10-year-old brother and front-seat passenger is coming by ambulance. His injuries, neck pain and an obvious deformity to the lower body, appear less serious.

The team – a doctor, nurses, a surgical resident, transport team members, staff from lab and radiology, and others – gather in a trauma room. But this trauma room is different. Its walls are made of Falconboard® (heavy duty cardboard) and it’s actually in a 90,000 square foot warehouse where stacks of new automobile tires seem more “in place” than a pediatric medical team.

The mock drill is part of the innovative process Akron Children’s Hospital is using to design its new medical tower, which will include a new emergency department, neonatal intensive care unit, outpatient surgery center and expanded clinical areas.

Leading the mock trauma drill is Laura Pollauf, MD, director of Emergency Services for Akron Children’s Hospital.

“Our goal with this scenario is to really test the size of this room,” said Dr. Pollauf, through a megaphone with the team assembled around her. “When we have a trauma like this, we can have up to 16 people in the room, including the doctor, three nurses, a trauma surgeon, a lab tech, a fellow, child life, a social worker, and the parents.”

During the scenario, the participants pay attention to details. Is the hallway wide enough for a stretcher? Is life-saving equipment in quick reach? Where will the mother enter and how will she be escorted to meet her sons? If the mother is being registered near her children, will this create a bottleneck in the hall?

Jackie Smolinski, a mother of three, including a son with special needs who is well known in Akron Children’s ED, raises the concern that the 10-year-old boy may be traumatized by seeing his older brother undergoing life-saving measures. But Dr. Pollauf suggests that a pull-back curtain could help with that while still allowing the mother to be with both her sons.

Smolinski and five other mothers who serve on the ER design team have also raised issues such as the need for more restrooms in the ER and a larger waiting room, giving Security a stronger presence, and improving overall flow and wait times.

After an informal discussion about the trauma scenario, team members emerge from their cardboard maze ED and return to tables in another location of the warehouse. They will discuss what they liked and didn’t like in the scenario with architects, engineers and construction team.

The goal is to get the design perfect. So when Akron Children’s new emergency department opens in 2015, it will be more than ready to care for two brothers hurt in a 3 a.m. car accident and all other patients who enter its doors round the clock.

Learn more about Akron Children’s building expansion project, called “Building on the Promise.”

How to build a better ED: Learning from Seattle Children’s

Akron Children’s Hospital, firmly rooted in northeast Ohio and the Midwest since 1890, is looking to a West Coast children’s hospital for guidance as it begins a $200 million expansion of its main campus.

As the hospital undertakes a year-long process to design a new medical tower that will include a new emergency department, neonatal intensive care unit, outpatient surgery center and expanded clinical space, it borrows greatly from the experienced learned at Seattle Children’s Hospital in the early 2000s.

Working closely with Joan Wellman & Associates, Seattle Children’s followed a process called Integrated Facility Design to expand its campus, adding a universal clinic, outpatient surgery center, imaging center, lab and pharmacy.

Early estimates indicated the Seattle project would span 110,000 square feet and cost $100 million. The hospital board approved a $70 million total cost. In the end, the 80,000 square foot (a 30 percent reduction) facility ran under the allocated budget by $3 million and opened a month early.

The secret was turning to the Lean Six Sigma principles perfected by Toyota and other Japanese manufacturers that focus on eliminating waste, improving efficiency and focusing on customer satisfaction.

CNO Lisa Aurilio

A team from Akron Children’s has visited Seattle Children’s. The hospital created the Mark A.Watson Center for Operations Excellence in 2009 and this staff has been tackling problems big and small for the hospital. Successes range from improving the efficiency of the hospital sterile process department (essential to meeting the demand for more surgeries) to improving the scheduling of MRIs.

The approach to building design essentially flipped the traditional method.

“Right now we have everyone working together from the very start,” said Magnus Nilsson, a senior consultant for the KLMK Group, a key player in the project. “Typically, an owner works with an architect for a year and then they bring in the mechanical, electrical, structural and civil engineers and the construction team. The goal here is to have a seamless communication process.”

Nilsson said the goal of having zero change orders – costly changes in the plan once construction starts – is a realistic goal.

Lisa Aurilio, chief nursing officer for Akron Children’s Hospital, said she remembers earlier in her nursing career pushing a patient on a stretcher in a hospital that had just opened. But as they approached the treatment room, she couldn’t get the patient into the room – the door width was too narrow.

“As nurses, we known how to give really good patient care, but we don’t know how to read blueprints,” Aurilio said. “This process [including using life-size mock-ups of an ED or NICU] lets us avoid those mistakes. It allows us to get the patient’s voice in the process. After all, it’s about them.”

Doug Dulin

Doug Dulin, senior director of the Mark A.Watson Center for Operations Excellence, said the process so far has reduced Akron Children’s new medical tower from 360,000 to 330,000 square feet.

According to Dulin, in Lean Six Sigma language, patient/customer flow is often compared to a river. Good building design will keep patients moving along “downstream.” Bad design will cause waits, confusion and bad experiences.

“We want patients to come into the ED, get registered, see a provider, get the care they need and then go home as quickly as possible,” Dulin said.

Learn more about Akron Children’s building expansion project, called “Building on the Promise.”

Credit: “Leading the Lean Healthcare Journey; Driving Culture Change to Increase Value”  by Joan Wellman, Howard Jeffries and Pat Hagen.  This book was published by CRC Press, a Taylor and Francis Company.

Integrated Lean Project Delivery flips the design process

For the past few months, hospital leaders, patient families, doctors, nurses and clinical staff have been meeting regularly with architects, builders and Akron Children’s Lean Six Sigma process improvement team to plan the new patient tower, which is part of a $200 million expansion.

The process, known as Integrated Lean Project Delivery, is expected to:

  • improve productivity
  • eliminate waste
  • enhance the overall patient experience

It’s expected to reduce costly change orders in the construction phase and the project’s overall cost.

“We plan to build flexibility into our design so that we can be prepared for the changing health care environment,” said Grace Wakulchik, chief operating officer. “For example, we are designing our new neonatal intensive care units so they can become pediatric intensive care units or even general patient rooms if our patient volumes and patterns change.”

Akron Children’s Chief Operating Officer Grace Wakulchik

Department teams, in conjunction with the architects, are using small scale models, including paper dolls, to design their floors. Blueprints will be tested in full-scale mock-ups constructed in a local warehouse.

This will allow doctors, nurses and patients to walk down hallways, enter exam rooms and reach for supplies – catching potential problems – well before the real construction begins.

Construction will begin in the spring of 2013 and will be competed in 2015.

The companies assisting Akron Children’s with project management include: