Whit Robinson, a Navy commander and resident officer in charge of construction for Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton, said the new hospital fosters a 30 percent faster throughput rate, which allows more patients to be cared for with fewer overnight stays that require bed rest. The goal is to boost outpatient care, he said.
“That’s the way the future of health care is gong,” Robinson said. “Because of new technologies bed count is no longer the measure of the size of a hospital. It’s the clinics and basically patient throughput. Patients will heal better at home.”
Preliminary steps being taken to prepare for the transition to the new hospital include analyzing which of the current equipment can be salvaged and which have reached the end of their life cycle. A contractor has been hired to coordinate the moving process and coach the personnel who have been assigned to teams.
One particular team of government and construction contractors made 20 visits to numerous hospitals in various stages of construction to share lessons learned. Valuable insights were also gained late last summer when a transition team moved patients for the opening of the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.
“There’s going to be a point in time when both hospitals are operational and then we’ll start moving over the staff,” Robinson said. “These patients are all in different states so we have to make sure there’s never a drop in care during the entire process.”
While still in the construction phase, the Naval Replacement Hospital Project is already gaining recognition from the California Council for Excellence. The project won a California Team Excellence Award, placing first for process improvement. Honors were received in November but competition continued in May for the International Team Excellence Award.