How suite it is.
Date: April 1, 2012
Clinicians in the main endoscopy suite have a heightened kinesthetic ability and quick reflexes to match: Not only can they sense a gurney that’s about to bump them from behind, but they can swivel out of its path without missing a beat in a patient’s pre-procedure interview.
Human traffic jams were but one reason it was time to move to The Johns Hopkins Hospital’s new $1.1 billion clinical building.
When the previous suite opened in 1985—then, a 2,000-square-foot model of its kind—it was pre-endoscopic ultrasound and before the demand for ERCP, before the need for bedside computer stations and the growing reliance on endoscopy in general to monitor disease.
In short, “we were bursting at the seams,” says Tony Kalloo, head of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Beds were full and waits for procedure rooms could be long; ultrasound and fluoroscopy units had to be pushed aside to make room.
Though safety and infection control wasn’t compromised, the status quo was less than ideal, Kalloo says, for teaching and innovation.
Today, that’s all changed. At 18,300 square feet, the new endoscopy suite—the Harvey M. & Lyn P. Meyerhoff Digestive Disease Center—holds roughly twice the number of procedure rooms and they’re double the size.
Housed on the entry floor of the Sheikh Zayed Tower, the suite’s expanse “raises both quality and quantity of endoscopy practice at Hopkins Hospital,” says Kalloo, a key figure in its planning.
Improvements go beyond size. Nine of the 13 new procedure rooms, for example, are lead-lined for efficient CT scanner use. Two have additional sterile capability so clinicians can shift into surgery if endoscopy shows the need. Biopsied tissue speeds to the new cytopathology lab via chilled pneumatic tubes.
A novel barcode system to track endoscope use replaces the old paper surveillance; a dedicated, state-of-the-art washing facility for the scopes raises the safety bar still higher.
“The move took all my focus and energy,” says Sarah Disney, endoscopy’s operations manager, who smoothed the transition to a new digital tracking system that displays patient progress from registration through release.
That same automation transforms inventory-keeping. “We can now tailor supplies in procedure rooms to match each day’s schedule,” says Disney. “Nothing will sit unused.”
For patients and their families, change means more than an eye-pleasing reception area.
Kalloo actively sought input from past patients and their families—two gutsy sisters were especially articulate—and one result is a second digital patient-tracking display for waiting families. It’s like the clinicians’ version, only HIPAA-friendly to protect privacy. That privacy is also guarded by having separate space for discussions about diagnosis and treatment.
And enclosing the 37 pre-op and recovery bays with walls rather than curtains is not only for privacy, but it means a family member can stay with a patient until endoscopy time.
Training also benefits. With the sizeable new conference room—one wired to receive live transmissions during endoscopies—“we can teach physicians and nurses in truly realistic situations,” Kalloo says, “asking questions back and forth on actual cases.”
Everyone’s expectations for the new suite ran high, says Disney, “but I’ve been surprised to see what we expect from one another change as well.” There’s a rising to the occasion of sorts. “This place,” she says, “is fostering a new culture of excellence.”
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