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.

How will healthcare look in 20 years? That would be nice to know as we build now

Dr. David Chand talks with Dr. Emily Scott, a pediatric ED attending physician, during the August kaizen to design the new ER.

As Akron Children’s Hospital moves forward with its $200 million campus expansion, a crystal ball would come in handy.

With health care reform, changing demographics, and other uncertainties, our goal is to build flexibility into our design in every way possible. We can make educated guesses regarding future patient volumes and acuity, reimbursement levels, the always-changing technology and best practices for care, but they are just that – educated guesses.

The kaizen process is a group effort.

The first phase of the plan includes a critical care tower to be built on Locust Street, west of our main hospital. The tower will include a new emergency department, neonatal intensive care unit and outpatient surgical suites. A new parking deck, which will connect to the tower, is already under construction. Later projects include an expansion of the Ronald McDonald House of Akron and additional space for clinical programs.

Akron Children’s is using a forward-thinking design process called Integrated Lean Project Delivery (ILPD), which has brought all stakeholders – physicians, nurses, parents, and staff – together with the architects and engineers to design the new space efficiently and with the best possible patient experience in mind. The guiding principles echo back to the hospital’s original promises of:

  • Treating each child as if our own,
  • Treating others as we would want to be treated, and
  • Turning no child away regardless of ability to pay.

Using this process is a natural evolution for Akron Children’s, which began to embrace the Lean Six Sigma process improvement principles when it created the Mark A. Watson Center for Operations Excellence in 2008.

I have been most closely involved with the team designing the emergency department, which was built to serve 45,000 patients annually but has been serving closer to 60,000 in recent years.

Moving through the design process, we held several architect-led meetings, including a week-long “kaizen” in a local warehouse. Using sturdy cardboard for walls, we were able to test true-to-size floor designs and the functionality of the space by wheeling a patient down a hallway, measuring the time needed to get an x-ray, and counting the steps a nurse takes when reaching for supplies.

We have tested various ED scenarios, including a common case of asthma, a trauma, and a teen having a mental health crisis. A pediatric ED is a busy place and we have sought the input of other hospital professionals who provide services there, including our social workers, dietitians, chaplains, transport team members, pharmacists, lab and radiology technicians, and security and housekeeping staff.

Testing patient care flow during a kaizen to design the new ER.

We studied data, such as our average daily census and length of stay, and created “current state” and “future state” value-stream maps, which quantify all the employees, functions, time and costs that follow a patient from arrival to discharge.

Some surprisingly low-tech supplies such as Post-It Notes, yarn, masking tape, and paper cut-outs have been employed to capture ideas and study work flow.

The goal is to catch design flaws early, reduce the number of change orders and, of course, solve problems before it is too late to make changes.

We learned a few things early on. We want separate ED entrances for ambulances and families bringing children on their own. We want as much standardization as possible to reduce the risk of error. And we want rooms to be universal – able to change in function by simply moving equipment in and out.

The parents on our team told us they hope for improved way-finding and easy check-in. A good sense of safety and security is also a top priority. We were reminded that they often come to the hospital with baby carriers, diaper bags, strollers and siblings in tow and few pediatric ED visits are ever planned. The input they have given us has been invaluable.

Construction will begin this spring, with completion scheduled for 2015. We can only wonder what changes we will see in health care by the time the doors of our new critical care tower officially open.

Dr. David Chand is a pediatric hospitalist and member of Akron Children’s Hospital’s Mark A. Watson Center for Operations Excellence.

How the ER team will boost efficiency and reduce costs in new space

Akron Children’s ER design team runs through patient scenarios to find ways to create the most value in the design of our new ER.

As our teams assemble to discuss and collaborate on best practices and design of Akron Children’s Hospital’s new $200 million critical care tower, participants continue to experience “Ah, ha!” moments.

This week, the ER team ran through patient scenarios, using mannequins and equipment, to test how effectively the staff can move throughout the current design space.

What they realized was that exploring all options – even if there are some that will be ruled out – helps identify new, unexplored possibilities.

Throughout the integrated project delivery (IPD) process, design teams have been challenged to find ways to maximize efficiency and reduce space, creating the most value in the design.

The ER team realized that they could save money and increase flexibility within the space by reducing the amount of built-in storage and using a cart system to store and move supplies around.

They brainstormed possible cart combinations and then discussed how those carts could be used and stored. By not having identical medical equipment housed in each room, we save space and money.

In the future, if equipment needs updated, there will be fewer units to update, reducing expenses.

In addition, carts provide flexibility because the staff can customize the room to the patient’s situation by bringing in only the equipment they need.

This group also talked a lot about doors – their size, hardware function and open/close timing. In January, they’ll return to the warehouse for patient simulations using sample doors from manufacturers.

Akron Children’s Hospital to undertake $200 million expansion

Akron Children’s Hospital is launching a $200 million expansion of its Akron campus to meet the current and future needs of children and their families.

Called “Building on the Promise,” the expansion project is the result of significant growth in the hospital’s patient volumes and services.

“Our plan builds on the same promises we made in 1890 when we opened our doors,” said Bill Considine, president and CEO of Akron Children’s Hospital. “We treat each child as our own. We treat others as we would want to be treated. And we turn no child away regardless of the ability to pay. This expansion will ensure our ability to care for the next generation of children.”

Akron Children’s Hospital’s Future Campus Plan

The centerpiece of the plan – a critical care tower near Locust and Exchange streets – will include:

  • A new neonatal intensive care unit with individual rooms for each of the hospital’s tiniest patients and their parents. The current Level III NICU treats the highest level of premature and critically ill newborns and is nationally ranked but has outgrown its space.
  • A new ER with enough room to meet current and future patient volumes. Annual ER visits of more than 60,000 to the Akron campus strain the hospital’s resources in a facility built to accommodate 44,000.
  • Dedicated outpatient surgical suites to accommodate a more than doubling of outpatient procedures in the past 20 years.
  • Dedicated space for several of the hospital’s pediatric subspecialty programs, which keep the highest level of clinical expertise in the community and also help attract and retain nationally-known physicians. The hospital’s medical staff has grown 72 percent since 1991.

In addition, the plan calls for:

  • Expanding the Ronald McDonald House of Akron to accommodate the hospital’s growth.
  • A new six-level, 1,200 space parking deck, already under construction.
  • A new “front door” for the hospital – a child-focused patient and visitor welcome center that will streamline access to the campus.

Two thirds of the cost of the project will be covered through public financing and internal reserves. Philanthropy will play a key role in the success of the campus expansion.

The hospital plans a capital campaign to raise $50 million for the critical care tower and $10 million for the Ronald McDonald House expansion.

While Akron Children’s has made continual improvements, it has been 22 years since the hospital last undertook a major capital campaign.

“Our patient volumes have increased significantly and we are seeing patients from farther distances. Our main campus will always be the place for trauma cases and children needing the most critical care,” said Considine. “We hope to have the support of the community – from the business sector to the many individuals who have been touched in some way by the work we do at Akron Children’s on a daily basis.”

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

The companies assisting Akron Children’s with project management include: the Boldt Company, of Appleton, Wis.; Hasenstab Architects, Inc., of Akron; KLMK Group, of Richmond, Va.; HKS, Inc., of Dallas, Texas; and the Welty Building Company, of Akron.