Patient Care on Precipice of Transformation at Penn Medicine’s New Pavilion

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PHILADELPHIA—Referred to as a “Beacon of Hope,” Penn Medicine’s new Pavilion, one of the largest hospital projects underway in the United States, opens to staff, patients, and visitors this month.

The 17-story bronze-colored building rises on Penn Medicine’s West Philadelphia campus, housing 504 private patient rooms and 47 operating rooms, as an expanded footprint of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP). The $1.6 billion facility is poised to serve as the launch pad for Penn Medicine’s next generation of pioneering advances in patient care.

From the design and construction process to staff training, this state-of-the-art hospital has been home to a variety of innovative approaches that are mapping the future of healthcare. Highlights include:

The Future-Ready Hospital

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The uncertainties experienced throughout the COVID-19 pandemic have emphasized the need for designing a hospital that could adapt with rapidly changing science, medicine, and patient care. The Pavilion not only has enhanced infection control capabilities, but it was designed to help accelerate bench-to-bedside research, and it incorporates state-of-the-art technologies for caregivers, such as rooms with telemedicine functionality to allow for remote monitoring and consultations.

  • Reinventing the Emergency Room: The Pavilion’s two-floor emergency department (ED) is designed to decrease wait times and crowding speed diagnosis, and improve the ED care experience. The ED team previously piloted this new approach in the existing ED at HUP.
  • Advancing Cancer Care: An oncology intensive care unit (ICU) will be conveniently located by the inpatient oncology unit on the same floor, allowing care teams to respond quickly to any serious side effects from cancer treatments and transfer them to the right level of care at just the right time.
  • Hybrid Operating Rooms: Interoperative MRIs and other equipment in hybrid operating rooms allow surgeons and physicians to work side-by-side, performing image-guided surgeries with more precision. The rooms themselves are built with future needs in mind, with panels that can be swapped out for installation of the latest technology. And natural light flows into the operating rooms, through large windows along the hallways—creating an improved environment for care teams.
  • Hiring for the Future: The Pavilion has brought about 600 job opportunities to Penn Medicine and the Philadelphia region including positions for nurses, respiratory therapists, lab professionals, security officers, environmental service employees, and others to the community.

Bridging Research and Clinical Care

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In the center of a vibrant clinical and research campus, the Pavilion is a centerpiece of Penn Medicine’s world-class expertise in bold approaches to treating diseases of all kinds, from cell and gene therapies to specialized cardiac surgeries.

  • Personalized Therapy: Patients in the Pavilion can also be treated with personalized cell therapy products—made just for them in our sophisticated, connected manufacturing facilities—for cancer, autoimmune disorders, diabetes and a host of other diseases being studied at Penn.

Patient-Centric Design:

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The Pavilion is designed to transform the patient and family experience—their experience starts with a reassuring welcome in the lobby, and extends through comfortable wards, private rooms, and spaces for caregivers.

  • Meet IRIS: Each patient room is equipped with IRIS—a 75-inch screen and smart board that will help patients engage in their care. IRIS allows patients to save, show, and send information to family and care providers. Through IRIS, patients also have controls at their fingertips for lighting, shades, temperature, and more, so they can personalize the room to their comfort level.
  • Improving Patient Sleep: Patient rooms were also designed with sleep in mind. Nursing stations, laundry and meal prep areas, and other high-traffic staff locations have been grouped on interior parts of patient floors to reduce noise and traffic near patient room doors. A pass-through storage cabinet will allow staff to gather and distribute essential clinical supplies to each patient’s room, easily accessing the cabinet from the hallway. Known as a patient server, this feature eliminates the need for staff to enter the room and disturb the patient.
  • Family-Friendly Spaces: Caregivers also have comfortable spaces to stay in each room while visiting their loved one—rooms include a “family zone” with pull-out beds that make it possible to get a decent night’s sleep. The Pavilion will also feature a new Family Caregiver Center to offer a space for respite for caregivers.

Art and Food for the Soul:

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While the Pavilion is a place that promotes healing through patient care, it also creates a restorative environment by providing calming art and nutritious food for patients, visitors, and staff.

  • Creating Calming Environments: To create a peaceful environment within the hospital, Penn Medicine has curated artwork, such as vibrant murals and an installation from renowned artist Maya Lin.
  • Serving Up Hospitality: Prepared, nutritious food options will be offered through the unique partnerships with celebrity chef Tom Colicchio’s Root & Sprig, and Philadelphia coffee guru Thane Wright’s Bower Cafe. Additionally, the Pavilion’s cafeteria, run by food service vendor AVIFoodSystems, will incorporate a menu built off the Good Food, Healthy Hospitals Platinum Standard criteria.

Collaboration from Blueprint to Bedside:

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Ten thousand employees completed training before the Pavilion opens its doors for patients. This comprehensive training program is built on years of employee feedback, testing, and participation.

  • Designed with Employee Feedback: As project design for the Pavilion took shape, hundreds of staff toured and participated in simulations in a 30,000-square foot mockup of a patient floor and operating rooms, giving feedback to ensure that the hospital’s final design would ensure the best care for patients, from routine activities like meal delivery to high-stakes scenarios like resuscitations.
  • Practice Makes Perfect: Part of the current training experience also involves massive dress rehearsals to have care teams practice working together in their future workspaces and to ready them for opening day.
  • Testing, Testing: HUP’s Clinical Engineering team has been testing, calibrating, and maintaining all medical equipment before it reaches the Pavilion. Senior Clinical Engineering Manager Martine Kersaint, MBA, is overseeing more than 32,000 medical devices, such as ventilators, EKG machines, and patient monitors, diagnosing any equipment issues and making repairs.

Sustainability, Inside and Out:

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Sustainability has been a key aspect of the Pavilion’s construction and design from the beginning, making it on track toward receiving a Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) Gold Certification—a globally recognized symbol that promotes achievement in sustainable design and construction.

  • Minimizing Construction, Reducing Waste: Materials and systems, such as mechanical, electrical, plumbing racks, and even bathrooms, were pre-fabricated and manufactured off-site, then transported to the building, to minimize on-site waste and maximize energy efficiency.
  • Healing with Nature: An acre of greenery has been incorporated through the Pavilion’s landscaping and green roofs, comprised of native and hardy species that require minimal watering and maintenance. The Pavilion also repurposes resources like outside air through its HVAC system to source cold and heat, in addition to rain and runoff water, which will be used for the chilled water system to also assist with heating and cooling throughout the building.

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