Patients visiting the new Joint & Spine Center at TriStar Southern Hills Medical Center could be forgiven for thinking they are in a hotel. The first time many staffers saw the center they made the same mistake.

“It’s a 20-bed, boutique concept center,” says Tom Ozburn, CEO. “We wanted to expand our spine, orthopedic and neurosurgical offerings, but we wanted to do that in a nontraditional way. We felt like our patients were interested in care delivered from a different angle, particularly those orthopedic patients who are not sick but are just coming in for a procedure.”

Ozburn and his team visited facilities around the country, taking note of what they liked, and what they didn’t think would work at Southern Hills. They also brought physicians and service-line personnel during the design phase, so that everyone who’d be spending lots of time on the unit would have a say. The result is a completely renovated floor that bears little resemblance to the busy hospital that surrounds it.

“When those elevators open, you really feel like you’ve left the hospital,” Ozburn says of the $3.5 million center, which opened in early 2014. “It looks like a high-end hotel. The person who greets you is a concierge, not a unit secretary. Food trays don’t come to the room; we have a bistro-style dining facility on that floor, because we expect those patients to be up and ambulatory. Their caregivers dine for free with them, and many of the doctors dine there as well. It is a very communal setting.”

The physical rehab area has an added twist as well, in that it’s much more like a wellness gym than physical therapy site. It, too, is on the floor, because Ozburn says the Joint & Spine Center’s whole goal is that once a patient arrives, he or she never has to leave the floor until it’s time to go home. Not that anyone would want to.

“The concierge calls you before surgery and invites you over for a tour,” he says. “You see where you’ll be sleeping, dining, having therapy.”

In addition to the concierge and the team of board-certified physicians, the floor also has its own dedicated nursing and rehab personnel, discharge planners and pain management specialists.

Patients also get to wear a hospital-monogrammed robe during their stay. And then there’s the technology:

Nurse Call System. Nurse Call is a touch-screen panel with direct communication to the care team from a patient’s room. Rather than using an overhead paging system to call a member of the care team for assistance, the Nurse Call System allows for direct communication to their phone. For example, with one touch, there is direct access to nurses, techs, respiratory, EVS and dietary. Patients can also utilize the system for specific requests.

“Our nurses designed what buttons went onto that backlit control, which is on the wall as you walk in the door,” Ozburn says. “One of them is ‘provider in the room,’ so when the doctor goes in he touches that button, which then automatically calls the nurse assigned to that room, who then can either come down or speak with the doctor over the system. It has a lot of communication and reminder options, and the beauty of it is that all the content was nurse-designed, so it’s exactly what they need.”

Electronic Whiteboard. Electronic whiteboards are in each patient room to display pertinent information for patients and their families. That includes diet, last pain rating documented and daily patient goals, along with the attending physician, nurse and tech’s phone numbers. The whiteboard also displays educational information on medication side effects.  The device also enables physicians to show patients post-operative images.

“No more sticky notes up everywhere” Ozburn says. “The information is updated throughout the day as it relates to the patient’s care, and at 8 p.m. it automatically turns off and becomes a wall clock until 7 a.m. the next day.”

Rapid Display. Rapid Display is an electronic display panel outside of the patient’s room that displays the room number, provider information and patient restrictions such as fall risk and dietary restrictions.

RFID Hand-Hygiene System. The hospital also has a RFID (radio frequency identification) hand-hygiene system that tracks hand hygiene compliance in each patient room.

“We wanted to leverage technology to make the patient experience better, but also to make the work process easier for the clinicians giving that care,” Ozburn says. “All of our employees have RFID chips in their badges that tracks each hand-hygiene event and the amount of time they are in a room. This lets us examine how many touches we have in regard to the patient, and that feeds a lot into patient satisfaction.”

The Joint & Spine Center consistently has an 89 percent to 90 percent hand-hygiene compliance rate, he adds.

And speaking of high percentages, the Joint and Spine Center is performing better than expected in that regard, which doesn’t surprise Ozburn at all.

“We use different metrics to rank satisfaction with our doctors, nurses, staff and patients,” he says. “That floor is ranked within the 99th percentile in all areas,” he says. “We believe we’re onto something. I have gotten countless letters from patients saying they didn’t believe they were in a hospital. People are excited, and they are telling their friends and family. We are seeing our volume really pick up, because this is unlike anything people have experienced before in terms of a hospital stay.”

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