Like a child who has long outgrown his clothes, the UC radiology department is practically bursting at the seams. The department’s new chair—Jannette Collins, MD—has made giving the department a better fitting wardrobe her most important short- and long-term goal.
Collins, who assumed the UC radiology chair position in February 2009, says the department’s multiyear, multimillion dollar renovation is her “top priority.” The initiative was approved by the UC Board of Trustees at its June 2009 meeting.
“It’s been over 20 years since UC’s radiology department underwent extensive renovations—and in that time the department has grown significantly, but the configuration and allotted space have not,” she says.
“Oftentimes, the department was forced to move equipment into hallways or sacrifice patient comfort just to keep clinical operations moving.”
Collins is working with a team of professional architects to develop a strategic renovation plan to accommodate the needs of both patients and the clinical teams providing daily care.
“We have a total of about 38,000 square feet to accommodate our clinical, research and educational activities, so we need to configure it in a strategic way that makes sense for all parties involved,” adds Collins.
Like most major renovation efforts, the radiology project will be completed in multiple phases. The first, which is expected to start generating dust in the spring, will occur in the UC College of Medicine’s Medical Sciences Building. Faculty offices will be moved from the hospital to the College of Medicine to free up in-hospital space for clinical operations.
“One motivator for renovating is to make care more convenient for patients, but it is also critically important that we improve the working environment for our radiologists and support staff. Our employees need enough smartly organized space to do their work and remain satisfied in their jobs,” says Collins.
To help determine needs, Collins and her renovation steering committee conducted small group discussions with teams of workers to learn how separate divisions function operationally. This helped to determine the unique challenges and needs of workers and patients so that they could be addressed in the renovation. The goal was to eradicate inefficient systems and maximize existing space.
Currently, clinical care is spread somewhat sporadically across University Hospital’s ground floor. This results in significant challenges with patient and worker flow. For example, some inconveniently located clinical areas require radiologists and patients to move back and forth from one end of the radiology suite to the other.
“Over the past two decades, the department’s layout really became a hodgepodge of areas designed mostly around where the new equipment would fit versus where it should go,” Collins adds.
Although design plans are not yet finalized, Collins is working diligently to design a space that encourages teamwork and collaboration by making common gathering spaces a priority—something that does not currently exist.
New spaces to accommodate inpatient and outpatient flow will also be created to improve the patient experience, including the addition of separate waiting rooms and private patient preparation areas for starting intravenous lines and obtaining consent.