Information technology infrastructure is adding $5,000 to $10,000 to the cost of a new hospital room, but the expense is worth it, according to Gerard Nussbaum, director of technology services for the Atlanta-based healthcare facility-planning and information-technology consultant Kurt Salmon Associates.
At children's hospitals, Nussbaum said, these expenses include accommodating a patient's family members who want to check e-mail or download movies while the patient is receiving treatment or sleeping.
Nussbaum spoke at the Greater Chicago Chapter of the Healthcare Information and Management and Systems Society-sponsored program on integrating IT into healthcare facility design Jan. 17. He told members that "IT people" have the power to change a healthcare organization even when no one is paying attention to them. He also challenged healthcare leadership to take a stand against staff who obstruct technology implementation, and suggested that perhaps these employees should be told that a hospital across town is "committed to mediocrity" and maybe they should see if that hospital is hiring.
Bob Pratt, the principal designer of Pratt Design Studio in Chicago, told of how integrated design teamsincentivized to work together instead of in adversarial siloscan help with getting facilities completed faster and cheaper with fewer change orders.
"The first incentive is that you're going to be done when you say you're going to be done," Pratt said, with the incentive being that money that was set aside for contingencies can be redirected as bonuses for completing a project on schedule.
The program was held at 776-bed Northwestern Memorial Hospital's new Prentice Women's Hospital in downtown Chicago. Northwestern Chief Information Officer Timothy Zoph told of how there was a team of 125 people dedicated to making sure that, when the building opened on Oct. 20, 2007, its technology worked as planned and that the staff knew how to use it.