Delivering solutions outside the box
For Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, using a combination of more than 100 strategically positioned, customized workstations has resulted in positive feedback from the hospital’s doctors and nurses.
By Tracy Morris T
he state of Texas is well known for its pioneer- ing spirit, geographical variety and wide open spaces. But the state’s overall business climate of conservative pragmatism requires a different kind of creativity from the decision makers in healthcare design. Visionary plans for bold innovation in layout and furnishings run the risk of clashing with conservative resource management. It’s a scenario that points to the usefulness of long-term planning and developing key relationships, rather than brash overhauls, whether faced with new construction or redesign needs. For Tracy Morrison, senior IT infrastructure designer for Children’s Medical Center (CMC), updating various depart- ments within a 2.2 million-square-foot pediatric hospital required not only thinking outside the box, but pinpointing the specific connections out there that could facilitate CMC’s continual expansion into a future enriched by high-level information technology.
As the only academic healthcare facility in North Texas dedicated exclusively to the comprehensive care of pediatric patients, CMC must rely on top-level products and profes- sionals in its two full-service campuses in and around Dallas. A 24-year veteran of communications and information systems, Morrison knew of the different solutions available to choose from for modifications in existing patient rooms, a new infusion unit and the emergency department (ED). Besides superior functionality to fa- cilitate both written and electronic documentation by staff, solutions were required to be aesthetically in tune with CMC’s pediatric mission. “Whenever we’re designing a space,” Morrison says, “the first questions we ask our people are, ‘Where do they want the computer
PHOTO OF TRACY MORRISON BY LOUIS CURTIS OF
CHILDREN’S MEDICAL CENTER. 12 December 2012
in the room, and how are they going to chart?’ One of our main concerns here is we don’t ever want to have our back turned to the patient.”
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Among the options Mor- rison reviewed, generic premade solutions – such as wall-mounted arms or carts – were found to be
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ms or to be
inferior when measured against the expressed needs of the two most important people in a hospital room: the patient and the nurse.
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Arms could address some purposes, such as being able to perform charting and then re-folding the work surface back against the wall. But for a child-focused envi- ronment, the overly ro- botic appearance (along with sharp metal edges and visible wiring) was
Proximity Systems’ wall-mounted workspaces house computer equipment, sensitive documents, medication and supplies.
deemed unsuitable. Carts, too, were found lacking in compari- son, primarily due to the potential for obstructing mobility. Space issues were of special significance in Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, a new infusion clinic setting where architects utilized evidence-based design principles and ergonomic planning in order to waste little to no space.
“Since the kids are there for extended periods of time, a lot of space is taken up by couches, chairs and things to make the room comfortable for the parents, as well as for the children,” Morrison explains.
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PHOTO OF TRACY MORRIS BY MAXIM LAVROV
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