In August 2015, Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas underwent a massive relocation effort, moving from a 700-bed, 1 million-square-foot facility built in 1954 to a new, 862-bed, 2.8 million-square-foot building. Although the move was just across the street, nobody could have prepared officials and staff for the planning and replanning needed to coordinate efforts from both a patient and provider perspective.
“We crashed and burned quite a bit, even at the planning stage,” said George Maliakal, a clinical systems engineer at Parkland, speaking this week at the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation’s annual conference in Austin, Texas. “That set us up for a lot of struggles later on down the road. It wasn’t just a cakewalk.”
From Clinical Staff to Tech Vendors, Constant Change
While planning for the move began in 2008, the hospital did not involve enough people during that stage, Maliakal said.
“Bring in all the different people you think need to be involved,” he told the audience. “We didn’t get the broader picture, the one person that said, ‘Oh, wait, you can’t have that door there because that’s a sterile corridor.’ Bringing in all the important people up front to get the ball rolling? Super-duper important.”
Job turnover and vendor platform changes also created issues, Maliakal said. Many of the clinical directors who initially signed off on planned room setups in 2009 had found other jobs a year later. Their replacements each had new ideas that often required change orders. Meanwhile, technology developers updated their devices.
“Technology that we were hoping to bring over changed along the way,” Maliakal said.
Making On-the-Fly Adjustments
Officials and staff initially coordinated the move room by room and device by device, posting inventory lists to a Microsoft SharePoint drive that was pushed out to the clinical leaders via email.
From an infrastructure standpoint, Parkland was prepared. The hospital installed a new wireless network to ensure that medical devices would work on Day One.
But once the move began, processes took less time than initially thought. What had been projected as a five-day move was trimmed in half twice, with the hospital relocating patients in 36 hours.
While normally a good problem to have, the speedier move meant on-the-fly acceleration of planned technology go-lives.
“Everything we had mapped out changed during the process,” said Justin Mahan, a clinical systems engineer at Parkland. “We would think, ‘Well, this department, we need to outfit it by Day Three.’ That turned into Day Two. We did a whole lot of work realigning everything. It was like a chess game.”
“There were a lot of shared efforts,” he said. “In a move like this, everybody’s going to be doing everything.”
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