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How to Keep Patient Safety Priority No. 1 While Navigating Hospital Construction

Healthcare construction projects play a crucial role in expanding and enhancing medical facilities, but they also introduce potential risks to patient safety. Balancing the need for renovations or new construction with the imperative to maintain a safe healthcare environment requires careful planning, collaboration and a dedicated commitment to prioritizing patient well-being. 

In a recent webinar, Jake Shack, the Senior Facilities Development Program Manager at Hoag Hospital, shed light on this topic. Hoag Hospital, an extensive healthcare facility encompassing three million square feet, two acute care hospitals, 16 urgent care centers and 11 health centers, is currently managing over 50 active projects in Southern California. 

Seismic Retrofits 

One of Hoag Hospital's high-stakes projects involved seismic retrofits in a high-end hospital. Shack explained, “California has some major seismic compliance issues, and we have to comply by 2030.” The team conducted a meticulous mockup to assess the feasibility and impacts of structural upgrades.  

Compliance with regulatory standards and guidelines is not only a legal requirement but also an ethical obligation. Ensuring that the construction adheres to regulations demonstrates a commitment to the highest standards of patient care and safety. 

NICU Expansion 

Addressing the unique needs of vulnerable patients, particularly infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Hoag Hospital relocated diagnostics to make room for additional NICU beds. “Some of our most vulnerable patients are babies.” Shack emphasized the importance of focusing on patient safety in such critical areas, where infants require constant attention. “They're up 24/7. There is no sleeping for them.” 

Construction activities generate noise and disruptions that can be unsettling for patients. Implementing strategies to minimize noise, such as scheduling loud activities during off-peak hours and utilizing soundproof barriers, helps create a healing environment. Prioritizing patient comfort and well-being is essential for maintaining the therapeutic nature of healthcare spaces. 

Hoag Irvine Expansion 

The closure of the main entrance during the Hoag Irvine Expansion posed logistical challenges, including limited parking and construction near patient rooms. “It's a logistics nightmare, but we are working together as a as a successful team.” Shack highlighted the hospital's commitment to navigating these challenges while ensuring minimal disruption to patient care. 

Digital Platform for Documentation 

Kahua Client Executive Craig Peeples provided an overview of the digital forms used for pre-construction risk assessments and hot work permits, emphasizing the time-saving benefits and simplicity of using a digital platform.  

The Kahua for Healthcare platform was designed specifically to address the capital planning needs of healthcare providers, plus a specific suite focused on industry specifics processes to further improve efficiency and reduce risk of all programs. 

The suite of applications includes Infection Control, Utility Shutdown, Hot Permit, Interim Life Safety Daily Wellness, Fire Watch Log and Penetration Permit. 

Kahua Platform Demonstration 

Shack underscored the significance of thorough pre-construction risk assessments and hot work permits for patient safety. He discussed the repetitive nature of filling out forms and advocated for expedited processes. 

Shack highlighted Kahua’s program management information system, demonstrating its ability to expedite form-filling, reducing the time from 2 hours to a mere 10-15 minutes. Shack emphasized, “The biggest benefits we've had is speed to execution.” The platform's simplicity and automation features were highlighted, making it a valuable tool for streamlining documentation processes. 

Key Strategies in Healthcare Construction  

Through meticulous examples and practical strategies, Jake Shack emphasized Hoag Hospital's commitment to ensuring the well-being of patients during construction projects. The integration of digital platforms like Kahua highlighted the industry's evolution towards more efficient and patient-centric construction practices. As healthcare facilities continue to expand and evolve, prioritizing patient safety remains at the forefront of every successful construction endeavor. 

Access “Prioritizing Patient Safe During Healthcare Construction” on demand webinar and learn how Kahua’s modernized processes help keep patients' safety at the top of the list while helping projects stay on track. 


What do you think of this approach in ensuring patient safety during hospital construction? We'd love to hear your thoughts.

About the Author

Kathleen Edwards is a Content Manager at Kahua. She is a communications professional with over 13 years of progressive marketing experience and holds a BS in Commerce and Business Administration from the University of Alabama.

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