St. Joseph Mercy Oakland promotes clinical quality, unveils eight-story tower
Published April 3, 2014
OAKLAND COUNTY — Becoming the most technologically integrated healing environment, St. Joseph Mercy Oakland in Pontiac will open a new, $145 million South Patient Tower that will feature private and technologically enhanced rooms in May.
“This is a project that started about eight years ago … and we had really come to the agreement as a management team that if we were going to provide health care to the future that we need a unifying theme around it,” said Jack Weiner, president and CEO of St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Hospital. “What we’ve settled on is a simple phrase called ‘personal connected journey,’ which means that care must be personalized and individualized.”
The South Patient Tower is part of a more than $300 million reinvestment for the health system. Construction of a surgery center and bridge connecting a parking lot to the hospital over Woodward Avenue were included in the total reinvestment.
Using eight patient-centered technologies, collectively known as the Intelligent Care System, the tower includes art created by Michigan artists. It will contain 204 private rooms that will allow for the hospital to offer private rooms for every patient.
St. Joseph Mercy Oakland is licensed for 443 patients, and the hospital currently offers some rooms that are semiprivate or that house three patients. Weiner said that the new tower will not increase their licensed capacity but will restructure the building so each room remains private.
“This was nothing but a reinvestment in making the environment that we created much more healing and supportive of the patient,” Weiner said.
Each of the seven floors designated to patient care space will contain six sections of nursing pods. Between every two rooms, a computer hub is stationed where nurses can complete their work while being in close proximity to the patient, said Dr. Fabian Fregoli, chief informatics officer. Nurses and physicians will also be equipped with personalized communication devices or iPhones that have been developed so nurses can receive texts, alarms and updates on a secure platform if the nurse is not at a nursing station.
“It’s very, very sophisticated technology. We’re just scratching the surface as to what the potential is,” Fregoli said.
The hospital is designed with hotel-style amenities, including a lobby with a fireplace and inviting seating areas, a chapel, and an assortment of shops and services.
Patient rooms were developed with a suite of innovative technological advancements, Fregoli said. The hospital partnered with vendors interested in innovation and pushing the envelope of their products, he added.
Prior to entering a patient’s room, identification badges are scanned by radio location — Centrak — at the handwashing station to ensure nurses and physicians are washing their hands, which helps with reducing infections.
“Wherever we’re taking care of patients, this technology is being (implemented),” Weiner said.
An interactive entertainment and patient education television system — Get Well Network — displays the information on clinical and nonclinical staff’s badges and allows for patients to be involved in their plan of care.
Rooms are divided into two sections — the patient care zone and the family zone. Patient care zones contain state-of-the art lighting for procedures that can be adjusted at the bedside, and vital signs are monitored wirelessly, Fregoli said. Hill-Rom Smart Bed Technology is integrated and used to improve patient safety for those at risk for falls. If a patient is identified as a “fall risk,” a dome light is lit outside the room and bed alarms are set.
“If the patient does try to get out (of the bed) — they’re educated to call first — then an alarm will set fire in the unit and into the smartphones so we can come to their rescue before they fall,” Fregoli said.
The family zone is equipped with outlets, a table/sofa that turns into a bed, and separate television speakers and lighting.
“The size of the rooms, they’re larger than what we used to build,” said Shannon Striebach, vice president of operations.
Striebach added that the rooms were intentionally designed with the restroom on an outer wall close to the room’s door to ensure a large family space.
A public unveiling of the tower will take place 11 a.m.-4 p.m. April 26. St. Joseph Mercy Oakland is located at 44405 Woodward Ave. in Pontiac. The tower is due to open in early May.
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