Intensive-care, acute-care and postpartum rooms will all be the same size, he says. The three patient bed zones—for trauma, medical/surgical and women and infants' specialty health—will be interconnected. Using that approach, growth in one service area can expand into an adjacent area as needed because of changing patient demographics, Saksen says. Anticipating a continuing shift in diagnostic imaging from CT to MRI, Saksen says the rooms housing both types of equipment will be of the same size, so the switch can occur with ease.
The neonatal intensive-care unit rooms on the new hospital's fourth floor are all of standard size and divided into eight 12-room pods, allowing expansion to a full occupancy of 96 beds and easy contraction as demand changes, Saksen says.
Many empty or “shell” spaces will be kept open throughout the hospital to accommodate future needs, including three operating rooms “that will await future surgical trends and patient volumes,” he says, concluding that “we believe Parkland's new inpatient facility will be poised to adapt quickly and efficiently to the changing patient landscape.”
The same claim is being made about the University of Chicago's new $700 million, 1.2 million-square-foot Center for Care and Discovery scheduled to open Feb. 23 with space for 240 private patient rooms and 52 intensive-care beds.
Designed by Rafael Vinoly Architects of New York and Cannon Design of Grand Island, N.Y., the massive structure features roughly 100,000 square feet in 510-foot-by-180-foot rectangles on each of its 10 floors. And those floors have been divided into 85 “modular cubes,” or bays, measuring 31.5 feet across and 18 feet high. Two stories of shell space are being reserved for future uses. (There is also a basement and a “mechanical penthouse” on the 11th floor.)
The building's flexibility-enhancing modular grid has already been put to the test with a late-in-the-game redesign of its operating and procedure rooms on the fifth and sixth floors that occurred long after ground was broken in 2009.
“Both floors are very similar,” says Elizabeth Rack, Cannon's medical planning principal for the project. “The thought was that, over time, the border between surgery and interventional procedures would become less so and they would intertwine. But during construction, this already happened,” requiring more space to be converted to cardiology.
While work will continue in some areas of the facility past the Feb. 23 opening, the universal grid system will allow this to happen with minimal disruption to adjacent spaces, Rack says. “It was really quite pleasant to see how easily it could adapt,” she adds.
The facility has nine advanced imaging and procedure suites plus 21 operating rooms with room to add seven more.
(In another demonstration of flexibility, the University of Chicago went outside the healthcare industry to design the new facility's inventory-control system. It tapped Jon Stegner, a former supply-chain executive with manufacturers Delphi, John Deere and Honda, to design an automated inventory system where supplies are automatically reordered when they are running low and equipment is tracked with radio-frequency identification tags.)
Chan-li Lin, a partner with Rafael Vinoly and project director for the Center for Care and Discovery, says the building has “extreme flexibility” as each floor carries an identical footprint “without any floor purposely built for any particular function, ” creating “a sense of possibility.”