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How a Children's Medical Center Rebuilt it's Facility

How a Children's Medical Center Rebuilt it's Facility

Engaging stakeholders in a board game helped prioritize high-tech amenities.

When Le Bonheur Children's Medical Center considered plans in 2004 to rebuild its outdated facility-originally constructed in 1952-a lot of executive thinking went into what "state of the art" would mean to the hospital's future.

No one thought a board game would figure into the game plan.

"We recognized that the facilities we had weren't capable of keeping up with our technology or our clinical care," says Dave Rosenbaum, vice president of facilities management. The design needed to meet the needs of today's technology and an evolving IT landscape.

Working with Kathleen Healy-Collier, administrative director of clinical systems, informatics and technical services, Rosenbaum carved out an $18 million budget-approximately 7 percent of the entire project's budget-from the general contract funds. This gave them the opportunity to consider technology choices separately from the construction of the building. The first step was selecting a technology design firm, which SSR Engineering and Johnson Controls won in a jointly awarded contract.

In one of their first meetings, Johnson Controls gave the Le Bonheur Children's team a board game to play called "The Solutions Navigator."

The interactive assessment tool-which, among other questions, quizzed players on their vision for the project and prioritized systems, applications and communication devices-was designed to help organizations identify and address infrastructure and technology needs.

Game pieces are placed on the board, which measures and compares an organization's needs, priorities and satisfaction levels. The result is an assessment of the hospital's top priorities and areas of improvement. Healy-Collier and Rosenbaum shared the game with patients, the patients' families and doctors, among others-each received a board to play.

Within a month, Johnson Controls collected and sorted the information gathered from the game, and presented the findings to the team. The information was sorted into three categories: must have, should have and optional. Some of the optional items could be added once construction was completed, if they had extra money. Many of the must-have and should-have items were infrastructure-related: the local area network, PBX, structured cabling, building security and intercoms.

Healy-Collier and Rosenbaum also created a secondary chart for designing the patient rooms. Patients and their families listed the technologies they wanted under the three categories. They found that patients were all looking for reasonable amenities, "nothing too Star Trekky," she says. Families wanted to know who was taking care of their child and which tests were being ordered. Patients wanted their cell phones to work in the hospital.

Le Bonheur Children's worked in tandem with Johnson Controls to collect, refine and award the RFPs with various suppliers. That relationship was especially helpful and efficient, Healy-Collier says, in removing much of the "wheeling and dealing with the vendors."

While the selection and design process was easily managed, Healy-Collier says managing expectations was more challenging. "Being a state-of-the-art hospital means different things to people," she explains. "We've had to make sure that we're asking about everyone's expectations and communicating our intentions effectively."

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