Kurt Salmon is proud to have helped develop the new Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago

Many hospitals are working to develop facilities that position them for success in a changing health care environment. Building a new hospital offers a unique opportunity to improve the patient and staff experience from the ground up. The Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago—which opened June 9, 2012—was built with this in mind, and the result is a flexible, patient-focused environment in the world’s tallest children’s hospital.

Kurt Salmon has worked with Lurie Children’s since 2003, then as Children’s Memorial Hospital, on matters involving clinical and research planning.

Patient safety and quality of care were central to the planning process and drove decisions that embrace patient- and family-centered care, customer satisfaction, and a high-performance culture. A large part of the planning was determining the desired level of change—which elements of the former hospital should be preserved and which should be transformed.

The new facility itself embodies change. With nearly double the square footage to accommodate commensurate growth in surgical, emergent and ambulatory care areas, the new facility in downtown Chicago is nearly three miles from its original site in Lincoln Park and is adjacent to its academic and medical partners, the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Prentice Women’s Hospital. At 23 stories high, with 288 all-private beds and an interventional platform across three floors, much is drastically different from what patients and staff experienced in the “old” hospital.

Processes that facilitate high-quality, efficient and cost-effective care delivery are essential in today’s economic environment. Change and operational improvement are not events, they are continuous. Some change can occur in old facilities and operating environments, but some must occur in new settings, and understanding the difference and how to accomplish this is a critical factor in success.

And while change was inevitable, anticipating exact change is difficult. So flexibility to handle changes in volume, reimbursement, technology, care models and practice patterns was built into design and operations. For example, operating and interventional rooms were configured to accommodate multiple procedure types and technologies across service lines, and pods of exam rooms in the ED and ambulatory clinics were created to accommodate shifts in volume and specialization.

A consistent patient experience was envisioned across clinical areas. From patient registration and arrival to the provision of care, discharge and follow-up, Kurt Salmon helped create numerous operating standards and workflows to ensure synergy and standardization across all services. To accomplish this level of change and incorporate this transformation into the hospital’s culture, the organization embraced three years of post-design planning in a methodological, multidisciplinary process.

Finally, Kurt Salmon partnered with Balfour Resource Group to lead the transition and move-planning activities. The team executed a move lasting several weeks, culminating in the safe and successful relocation of patients.