Building a New Hospital

It's a capital project years in the making- but for a local doctor, the new downtown Utica hospital is much more than just a concept. It's really all about keeping up with the times- key players involved in the development of the new hospital say they're taking a look at every aspect to make sure the new hospital delivers comfort and efficiency to both patients and doctors.

"We don't just call it a new hospital, we call it an integrated health campus that will provide all the services around our patients and what are really clients," said senior vice president of quality improvement Dr. Eric Yoss. He's been walking the floors of St. Elizabeth's hospital since 1988-- and said over time all the additions have made the campus resemble more of a maze.

"Honestly even if we were to take this building and totally gut it, take everything out from the inside, it still doesn't have a shape and configuration that's conducive to the type of care people need today.

Jonathan Wilch who's the principal of NBBJ, the architect firm hired to take on the project, said it's not just about building a top notch facility for patient care but also creating a more efficient way doctors can practice medicine. "One of the biggest challenges with an older facility is that they do become very hard to navigate for visitors and for staff and it becomes a bit challenging over time to really connect everything in an efficient way."

He says it's why many clients make the decision to start over.

"New hospital now are structured with bigger halls with areas that are dedicated to storing equipment."

The narrow halls and the tiny patient rooms at St. Elizabeth's have become a place of storage and a place for nurses to use as offices, the new hospital single rooms will give patients privacy and allow more room for family visits. "If your family wants to come to visit you, there's no room in those rooms to have 3-4 family members visit and we all know visitors improve patient outcome and care."

The new structure will also allow doctors to deliver care faster --"Because they can walk right across the bridge, a cardiologist can be in his office be needed on the floor- walk across the bridge and be in your room in 5 minutes."

Yoss said even though they'll have to stay put at St. Elizabeth's for at least 5 more years, doctors who are considering doing their residency in Utica are excited that they'll have the opportunity to practice medicine in a 21st century facility.

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