WellStar Health System, Marietta, Ga., will open its new WellStar Paulding Hospital campus in the Atlanta suburb of Hiram on April 1.
The 295,000-square-foot facility will replace the 55-year-old hospital with one that follows evidence-based design to improve safety
, patient care and workflow. The system invested $140 million in the project.
Mark Haney, the hospital's president, said WellStar joined the Center for Health Design's Pebble Project in 2009, when it committed to do original research on its design elements and share what it learned with others.
Some of the innovations for the new facility include a geothermal heat pump that is expected to save about 30% on energy
costs, Haney said. In addition, it installed ultraviolet air handlers, or germicidal lights, to prevent infections, as well as monitors on its sinks that can register whether clinicians have washed their hands.
WellStar also solicited feedback from nurses, who helped designed an emergency department that is no longer centered around a single ambulance entrance, but incorporates two. The design improves patient flow by allowing each end to expand toward the center, instead of clustering around one entrance.
The hospital also will offer new services, including a dedicated pediatric emergency department and cardiac catheterization center.
While many hospitals are struggling with declining patient volume, Paulding benefits from being the second-fastest growing county in Georgia, Haney said. Its demographics are similar to Cobb County, where its flagship WellStar Kennestone is located.
Yet many patients have been bypassing Paulding Hospital and going to Kennestone, Haney said. The system hopes that the replacement hospital will relieve some capacity from the tertiary-care facility.
“There was no long-term future for that hospital,” Haney said about the older Paulding campus. “It was a very aged facility that couldn't accommodate growth, couldn't accommodate new technology. The business plan (for a replacement) was very viable.”Follow Beth Kutscher on Twitter: @MHbkutscher