Medical University of South Carolina – MUSC Children’s Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital and Pearl Tourville Women’s Pavilion

MUSCTechnology has been critical to the construction of the MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital, which aims to deliver the highest quality of care with advanced systems.

By Staci Davidson, Senior Editor at Knighthouse Media

Building a hospital is serious business, and when planning the MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital, the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) understood the project’s significance from the start. To ensure the facility was built to meet the critical and extensive needs of the community, MUSC Children’s Health turned to the clinicians and families the hospital would serve to help guide the project. 

“This project has been in discussion for about 10 years or more,” says Mark A. Scheurer, M.D., Chief of Children’s and Women’s Services. “It is as important to the university as it is to our community, and I mean that quite seriously. In the Lowcountry area and entire state, there’s been an influx of young families. We had a realization that we needed to match the healthcare expectations with the environment of care – the current facility was built in the late 1980s, and it wasn’t designed with these current concepts in mind.”MUSC info box

The $385 million project also involves the construction of the new Pearl Tourville Women’s Pavilion. The new Pearl Tourville Women’s Pavilion will provide the best in technology and management of the simplest to the most complex obstetrical conditions.  

It was a priority for MUSC to align the new children’s hospital and pavilion with the mission of the health system, but the university also wanted to use this opportunity to create a hub-and-spoke model of care to purposefully establish quality ambulatory care. A new 100,000-square-foot ambulatory care center in North Charleston will open in first quarter 2019. 

Throughout all of this planning, MUSC was dedicated to engaging families, clinicians and care providers. 

“We’ve kept the community a part of this along the whole way,” Scheurer says. “We’ve integrated everyone’s input in a very intentional and purposeful way, and we’ve carried the communication process into the build. Although not typical for an area of this size, we are developing a hub and spoke model with the new hospital as the hub and the ambulatory campus as the main spoke. We hope this model will serve the community well; keeping lower acuity ambulatory care in the community and having the highest level pediatric care at the new hospital. We’ve completely aligned both projects with the mission of the university and the community has been bold enough to deeply engage in them so we can deliver the best model of pediatric care.”

One ‘Digital Rectangle’

As is typical for a structure being built in this day and age, technology is playing an important role in the construction of the MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital, as well as its infrastructure. It has been key to the project team, however, not to try to predict what IT capabilities would be important in the future. Instead, the team decided to create infrastructure that would allow the hospital to adapt over time. 

“We really chose technology within our guardrails and guiding principles – that the patients and their families are part of the care team,” Scheurer says.

He stresses it was of major importance that only one “digital rectangle” would be in each patient room. MUSC’s goal is to minimize “computers on carts” in patient rooms, Scheurer says. 

“Screens are populating our healthcare facilities, and they are creating barriers between the patients and care teams,” he explains. “We see it all the time and said no, we will not do that. We are pushing technology so there is a large, single digital rectangle in the room that will provide information for the care team, entertainment for the patient and can tell the patients and their families where they are in their medical journey. The technology will allow us to channel in the grandmother who is at home or allow the specialty provider at an ambulatory campus to be part of the team.”

Extensive Integration 

“The underlying goal is for the new hospital to function from a technical standpoint as a hospital of the future,” says Brett Seyfried, associate CIO, infrastructure. “We’re using Apple products throughout and we have a real-time location system to track patients, supplies and staff members. With that information, we can automate a lot of other things as well, and the digital rectangle can switch seamlessly between functions. We had to integrate a lot of technology to meet these technological goals.”

MUSC is working with Johnson Controls to integrate technology from all of the different vendors who have never integrated together before, Seyfried says. The real-time location system and lighting design are core aspects of the integrated technology, but all of the different systems will employ a "plug and play" approach to interoperability using GetWellNetwork as an intelligent hub. Seyfried’s team has been in charge of getting almost 20 different software vendors to integrate and work together in the MUSC system. 

“We are driving the integration of technology to create more one-on-one contact between the care team and the patients,” Scheurer says. “These technologies aren’t novel or new – they are integrated in other businesses, but few have been pushing them into the patient experience in healthcare. All of this is achievable with current technology: pushing platforms to think more broadly. The construction team has been great about engaging vendors.” 

“This technology will advance beyond what we can currently imagine,” he adds. “Healthcare practitioners go into this career because they love helping people, and technology can either be a barrier to that interaction or it can facilitate it. We are aiming to make sure it facilitates interaction.”

Construction Technology

In the construction of the new hospital, technology was utilized extensively from the inception of design and throughout the construction process.  The architectural and engineering team used BIM software to design the building, which was taken over by the construction teams for the design of all utility systems above ceilings, in the walls and underground.  

This was further enhanced through the use of GPS to ensure pin-point accurate installation and allowed the teams to ensure quality and maintenance of access to systems. BIM also was used extensively by the construction teams to prefabricate many of the above ceiling utilities and entire equipment rooms off-site in climate controlled conditions and installed in the building. This allows the construction teams to maintain quality and consistency throughout many of the construction activities. All of this will result in a building which will provide a safe, clean and comfortable environment for patient care. 

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