As North America’s first fully digital hospital, Humber River Regional Hospital (HRRH) in Toronto, Ontario will be a pioneer in healthcare, driving process improvements and efficiency by changing the application of technology to healthcare service delivery.
A computer rendering of the Humber River Regional
North America’s first fully digital hospital under
What does “fully digital” mean? Twenty-first-century hospitals use digital technology for such things as patient admissions and record keeping. But, until now, system interruptions prevented full integration and interoperability, two of the necessary elements for creating a fully digital workplace. Complete integration will create a better experience for patients, families, and medical staff. Self-serve kiosks, for example, will enable patients to check in and receive information and instructions in many different languages, and “smart bed” technology can automatically record and transmits a patient’s vital signs into secure e-Health records.
In line with HRRH’s Green Vision, the project has set an aggressive target for energy reduction. The project team developed a building design that will use 40 per cent less energy than the standard set out in the Model National Energy Code for Buildings. One of the cornerstones of the development is a goal to achieve a rating of LEED® Silver, meaning the building will realize annual utility savings of at least a dollar per square foot.
. . . and Saving Sneaker Time
Energy is a significant cost for hospitals, but it is not the only one: a digitally integrated workplace saves what is known in the medical world as “sneaker time.” In this environment, information is shared between appropriate users throughout a hospital in real time. This prevents duplication of work, helps avoid errors, and improves safety and efficiency.
A New Path to Financing Infrastructure
The project is being delivered under Infrastructure Ontario’s Alternative Finance and Procurement program, where the public and private sectors join forces to provide needed infrastructure for communities. PCL is part of a consortium of partners, including Plenary Group, HCP Social Infrastructure, Innisfree, and Johnson Controls, that will finance, design, and build the new hospital, and will then maintain the facility for 30 years.
Certain areas of the hospital, such as patients’ washrooms, lend themselves to modular construction, a building practice that is in increasing use throughout the industry. Modular construction can save time and money because components are prepared offsite simultaneously with work being done onsite. It is also a safe and standardized method of building because construction is done in a controlled environment, independent of weather or other variables, and thus ensures a finished product of the highest quality.