Giant cardboard model helped design emergency room remodel at Wellspan York Hospital

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Wellspan York Hospital will soon start major renovations on their current emergency department. To help create a top-notch emergency department the staff are using cardboard.  They are using a heavy-duty cardboard mockup as a small size version of the new emergency department, located in an off-site warehouse in West Manchester Township.

“It is a first for Wellspan,” said Dr. James Amsterdam Chair Emeritus with Wellspan York Hospital.

Instead of relying on blueprints, the cardboard simulation has allowed staff to test out processes and how departments will be set up. “One week alone we had 300 staff from all around Wellspan. For certain days we had specific staff, someone who deals with cardiac problems, or pediatric problems, but, it involved all staff. We ran about 30 different patient scenarios over the various weeks with input from staff, various people who have been patients, family members, actors, who acted as our patients but at the same time they use our service,” said Dr. Amsterdam. “We generated about 1700 suggestions if not more that needed to be consolidated and used by our architects to redesign.”

Dr. David Vega, Chair of Emergency Medicine with the hospital said the process has been a tremendous help. “We have revised just about every area of the ed that we have designed on paper. We would find out the things that needed to be tweaked with a simulation, talk with the architects, they would on the fly mock-up some changes. We would come back the next day and the cardboard and the design would be changed so then we could then test out all of these changes that our staff and our patients had come up with,” said Dr. Vega. “This department is really being designed to make us as efficient as possible. We actually have processes and projects going on right now in our current emergency department to improve upon wait times. One of our pilots called our quick streaming pilot, it was actually able to run last week with about 30 hours without a single patient waiting in the waiting rooms.”

WellSpan York Hospital will begin construction of a new emergency department in the summer of 2014.  The emergency department is expected to be finished in the fall of 2017.

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