Woodstock General Hospital
The original Woodstock General Hospital had been providing services to the County of Oxford since 1895, By 2000, the hospital’s administrative team recognized the shortcomings that of providing an important public service in an outdated facility. Demands for increased efficiencies, additional services and a constantly growing number of patients, combined with a serious lack of space, meant change was needed. That’s why since 2002 the management team at Woodstock Hospital, led by Natasa Veljovic, President and CEO, devoted their time and efforts towards developing and building a modern hospital. This plan for the future came to fruition on November 20, 2011, when the hospital moved from its outdated facility to a modern, technologically advanced hospital that will serve the County of Oxford for generations.
The new hospital was built through the AFP (Alternative Funding Procurement) model, with financing, construction and operation passed onto ITS (Integrated Team Solutions) consortium. The process that started with initial public and internal consultations culminated into building a brand new, efficient, effective, and LEED Silver certified facility that provides exceptional service to its catchment area of 110,000.
The new hospital, built on a greenfield site, fully replaced the original hospital that had limited room sizes, narrow hallways, lack of waiting areas, and heating, cooling and other operational issues. During the design stage, hospital management worked closely with Parkin Architects to design and build a hospital that incorporated sustainable features, as well as processes, and work and patient flow, into the design, to achieve the highest efficiency possible. The design stage of the hospital truly focused on the flow, and how people move through the hospital. The hospital and Parkin Architects consulted with some 200 hospital staff to determine the best flow of inpatients, outpatients, staff and visitors. Consideration was given to everything from how patients move in the emergency room from triage to surgery, to creating the flow of patients, visitors and staff to and from the parking lots “We were the first hospital in Canada to receive LEED Silver certification. We incorporated a number of efficiencies into the design, because when you have the advantage of building a new hospital you are able to incorporate environmental and energy saving materials and equipment into the design, allowing our hospital to operate much more efficiently,” says Perry Lang, COO. “What is wonderful, about this new facility is that both function and design bring benefit to all users, but most especially to our patients.”
Lack of space and structural issues with the old building hindered the development and implementation of new technologies. Naturally, the new hospital addresses all these issues and comes with state-of-the-art medical equipment. Over 80 per cent of the equipment was replaced with the investment in new equipment surpassing the $27 million mark.
“Throughout the seven-year consultation and building period, we were trying to limit new purchases in order to preserve capital for the new hospital. This is why a high percentage of our equipment is new. Because we invested in large purchases, we were also able to receive very competitive prices. Approximately 50 per cent of the new equipment budget was spent on the diagnostic imaging department, with purchases including a CT, ultrasound, and an MRI,” says Lang.
Woodstock Hospital’s new full service facility offers a wide range of healthcare programs including maternal/child services, women’s health, specialized surgical services, inpatient and outpatient mental health services, dialysis and rehabilitation programs, and a newly opened systemic therapy program.
The new building includes the full incorporation of wireless technologies and handheld devices, changing not only the way the hospital provides services to patients, but also how the hospital operates, giving support staff efficient solutions when addressing the day-to-day operations including patient records, housekeeping, food service, and portering services.
“Submitting all aspects of the operation to these handheld devices creates a more efficient overall workflow. For example, a patient’s dietary requirements and requests are submitted through handheld computers and merged together, producing personalized, safe menu options. With these same handheld computers we are also able to track workload for efficient provision of services,” says Lang.
Woodstock Hospital was conceived long before LEED certification became a standard for public buildings in Canada. Thanks to the visionary foresight of Veljovic and her senior executive team, LEED principles of environmental and energy efficiencies were embedded into the building plans, which is why Woodstock Hospital was one of the first projects in Canada to receive Silver LEED Certification. “The primary reason for incorporating LEED initiatives was to ensure a progressive, green, healthy environment for our patients, while reducing our carbon footprint,” says Veljovic.
With a larger facility and expanded programs and services, the new hospital has increased the number of full and part-time staff to over 850, making it one of the largest employers in Oxford County. In addition, more than 100 physicians , and a strong volunteer base, Woodstock Hospital is leading the charge in the local healthcare community when it comes to developing innovative, high quality services and improving the lives of Oxford County residents.
“Over a last few years we have undergone a corporate culture shift, switching to a culture that embraces change. We were able to harness this enthusiasm for change and continuously improve the quality of our processes and services.
“Patient experiences clearly speak for themselves. Since moving to the new facility, we have seen an increase in our emergency room volumes, dialysis treatments, critical care patients, and maternal, child women’s health. For example, Woodstock Hospital has seen a 40 per cent increase in births, so it seems that our new hospital, and the care we give, does attract more patients,” says Lang.
With an aging Canadian population, the healthcare system will experience increasing demands, coupled with restrained funding, and as a result, hospitals will need to deliver more care with less money.
“As a community hospital, we are here to provide the best service possible. The only way to do this is by increasing our efficiency and maximizing the opportunities the new hospital offers. Our new facility was built to deliver efficiencies and our people are dedicated to providing compassionate, quality care to all who enter our doors,” concluded Lang.