October 08 www. bus- ex. com 85 The chemotherapy treatment areas themselves may be the biggest change in the facility. Rather than the ward- style approach, where all chemotherapy treatment stations are open to one another— an approach that would have been far less costly to build and operate— the facility now has the capacity to treat 21 patients in 16 private or semi- private rooms. Klatt says the decision was made to enable rooms to be opened to one another because many patients return for treatment with others going through the same experience. " There is a social element that makes it easier for some people," she adds. Each treatment space features state- of- the-art chemotherapy chairs, a personal fl at- screen television, and windows and artwork breaking up the treatment areas also helps with infection control, notes Klatt. Natural lighting during the day is complemented by ambient lighting both outside and inside the facility at night. Altru's facilities manager Dan Beauchamp says the changes are reflected on the outside of the building as well, where the Cancer Center, once tucked in among other buildings on the medical campus, is now prominently featured, with a new canopied entranceway and more prominent signage. " The old Center was hidden away and hard to find, and now we've given it a greater presence on campus, which reflects the importance of the Center and the number of patients that we're treating now," Beauchamp says. The renovations— which included 14,000 square feet of new space in two separate additions and were carried out in four phases slated to be completed late in 2008— also allow operational changes, with all physicians and other medical oncology care providers brought together in a central workspace. Elsewhere at Altru, efforts are under way to modernize facilities, many of which date back 30 years or more. Ongoing work includes updating infrastructure such as air handling systems, plumbing and exterior brickwork, Beauchamp says. Another project involves converting the main fl oor of the primary hospital facility from mainly an inpatient setting to one that focuses mainly on outpatient care. " It has its challenges, because the building was designed to be used in that way, but we're trying to utilize the latest technology to make the facility as effi cient as possible," he adds. The Cancer Center building was originally designed as an orthopedic clinic but was remodeled in 2000 to be the fi rst standalone cancer treatment center in the Grand Forks region. The original project was close to being put in motion in the late 1990s but had to be pushed back when the city of Grand Forks was devastated by spring fl ooding in 1997 and resources were diverted to more urgent projects. Since then, the delivery of chemotherapy as a cancer treatment option has vastly increased, creating a need for additional space for medical oncology. Over time, the medical community has more fully embraced the idea that aesthetics can assist in patient healing and treatment. Now the Cancer Center setting is poised to become a touchstone for future hospital work as well. Already Altru has renovated a facility focused on plastic surgery and dermatology into more of a medical spa type of setting, says Hummel, changes that have helped it compete with other businesses offering similar services. " I think there have been lessons learned here in terms of how providing some of these amenities has value that people can now see for themselves," Hummel adds. Even though the Cancer Center isn't fully operational yet in its renovated space, hospital employees from throughout the system have taken tours and been impressed with the new delivery model and the focus on aesthetics. " People can see in bricks and mortar how the approach works, and that makes it more likely we'll take that same approach again in the future." Tricorne Audio, Inc. is an electronic systems integrator that has served the upper Midwest for over 18 years. We have supplied and installed paging, TV, security, clinic status and Rauland Nurse Call systems for Altru during that time. Tricorne Audio remains committed to achieving long term relationships with its clients by supplying quality products, professional installation and excellent customer service. Tricorne Audio, Inc. Altru Health System " Some patients come back for years and years, and as they come back, it's important that they have a place where they feel comfortable and that's as attractive as it can be"
86 www. bus- ex. com October 08 Stickingtotheplan About five years ago, Memorial Hermann launched a massive building boom pegged to the system's 100- year anniversary. Well over $ 1 billion worth of projects got done on schedule, and Keith Regan reports on the keys to that success story