As an administrator of a hospital or health system undergoing expansion, consolidation or modernization to provide more efficient, patient-centered care, you no doubt worry about the logistical challenges associated with construction and renovation. How will new medical and nonmedical equipment, health information technology and the multitudinous other systems involved in running a hospital be purchased and installed? How will existing equipment and systems be moved to the new site and activated seamlessly without compromising patient care?
Many lessons in managing complex health facility outfitting and transition can be learned from the U.S. Army, which successfully completed six major military hospital transition projects within the last five years. In 2011, the new Walter Reed National Military Medical Center opened in Bethesda, Md. The new center was formed by construction of new facilities and the renovation of the National Naval Medical Center.
Managing these close-proximity operations simultaneously was a major challenge for the Army. Its staff and leadership needed to remain engaged in everyday patient care and support services, and not pulled away from critical responsibilities to work on the transition project. Accordingly, the Army selected General Dynamics Health Solutions to provide initial outfitting and transition services. The project team was able to relocate approximately 10,000 staff members from Walter Reed and the National Naval Medical Center to new facilities at Bethesda and Fort Belvoir.
A year later, the Army’s focus turned to the new 745,000-square-foot Martin Army Community Hospital at Fort Benning, Ga., scheduled to open in November 2014. Using the buying power and health facility transition expertise of General Dynamics Health Solutions, the Army procured more than 30,000 pieces of new equipment and furniture and moved several hundred other pieces of equipment from other existing Army healthcare facilities.
During the outfitting phase, the Army worked closely with General Dynamics Health Solutions, which provided coordination with the design and construction teams to ensure all parties were aligned and focused on project milestones. “We have a person who focuses exclusively on the project schedule and the integrated master schedule, which blends the construction and other planning timelines into a singular view of the project,” says Stuart Mervis, Senior Director, General Dynamics Health Solutions, who serves as the program manager for health facilities initial outfitting and transition projects..
While purchasing, moving and installing equipment is complex, overseeing the operational planning during the transition phase of a project provides additional challenges, for example managing staff workflows. Through the development and use of the Concept of Operations, each department and its staff appropriately prepared for their relocation, ensuring a seamless transition. It is the focus on smooth outfitting and transition phases that allows facilities, like Martin Army Community Hospital, to seamlessly open on schedule.
Partnering with a turnkey health facility outfitting and transition provider improved financial transparency and reduced the risks associated with the Army’s recent transition activities, allowing them to relocate Walter Reed and open its Fort Belvoir and Fort Benning health facilities on time and within budget, in conjunction with ensuring the continuity of patient care.
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