New heart, new soul
Date: April 1, 2012
Between the full decade of planning before the first shovel broke ground for The Johns Hopkins Hospital’s new clinical building, and the vast size of the place, it’s no surprise that the dual 12-story towers hold the potential to advance patient care in a way unprecedented for a U.S. hospital.
Opening the building is “a transformative milestone in the history of Hopkins medicine,” says Edward D. Miller, M.D., dean and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine.
At the heart of the endeavor is a fresh, spacious physical plant stocked with state-of-the-art equipment—a place whose purposeful design looks to make practicing quality medicine easier.
But with the new building also comes an institution-wide program aimed at keeping the humanity that could get lost in a much larger campus, and going one better to enhance it.
Changing the Baltimore skyline, the structure occupies 1.6 million square feet on five acres of land.
It features two towers—The Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children’s Center, which replaces the current children’s hospital, and the Sheikh Zayed Tower. The latter houses full cardiovascular and neurology services as well as Neurosurgery and Labor and Delivery. A wide range of procedures is also offered there, including transplant, orthopedic and general surgery.
The building contains 33 operating rooms and separate diagnostic imaging areas for pediatric and adult patients. An intraoperative MRI scanner and the latest high-speed/low-dose CT scanners are set in place.
And from the main floor, patients can access both the new adult and new pediatric emergency departments that replace those on the older part of the campus.
Since that pediatric ED is also Maryland’s designated pediatric trauma center, it’s useful to have it close enough to adult emergency to share trauma capacity—a plus for disaster readiness.
Design also comes into play in keeping patient transport to the minimum. Neurosurgical suites, for example, are now on the same floor as interventional neuroradiology and neurosurgery recovery. The pediatric ICU, pediatric ORs and pediatric radiology also rub shoulders.
Despite the building’s 560 new patient rooms, The Johns Hopkins Hospital’s overall bed count of close to 1,000 won’t increase. The new rooms, however, are all private, a plus for infection control. Also to counter infection, ultra-advanced air circulation with optimal filtration feeds the entire building.
Yet for patients and their families, the most striking difference they’ll see comes from the planners’ push for a healing environment, one that fosters a culture of patient-and family-centered care. It starts with ambience: Soaring lobbies and corridors are bathed in sunlight. Gardens, engaging sculpture and the calculated use of color—greens and blues rule—lend tranquility, as do new sound-absorbing features that include silent paging and patient-tracking systems. In the neonatal ICU, rubber floors swallow noise.
Patient rooms now come with thermostats, a private bath and sleeping accommodations for family members. The meals-on-demand option relieves stress; children undergoing chemotherapy can order what they want late into the evening. And family lounges and play rooms are on every floor, including a two-story play room with spectacular views of Baltimore.
“Studies show that when families feel informed and empowered,” says Edward Chambers, executive administrator for the transition, “patients have better outcomes.”
“We are fortunate that generous, far-sighted visionaries played a crucial role in our building these facilities,” says Ronald R. Peterson, president of The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System.
What won’t change, however, is community physicians’ ease of access to Hopkins clinicians or the Hopkins pledge to send patient updates.