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Expanding its reach

JE Dunn is building a new branch to support a cardiovascular hospital

By Kelly McCabe of Construction Today

A continual focus on patient care and a successful model of heart care delivery have propelled Oklahoma Heart Hospital (OHH) to the top of the cardiovascular care industry. The hospital, which is a joint venture between area physicians and health centers in Oklahoma City, continually ranks in the 95th percentile of Press Ganey surveys that rank approximately 1,400 nationwide hospitals.

"In 2006, Oklahoma Heart Hospital achieved a 100 percent rating from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for delivering quality treatment to the highest number of cardiovascular patients," the hospital adds.

OHH South Campus

But some felt that OHH's location on Oklahoma City's far north west side wasn't convenient for patients in other parts of the city. So when a group of 20 physicians from three hospitals in the city's south side approached the hospital about building a new facility to focus on patients in that area of town, it was a no-brainer.

"The OHH has been there for seven years, so this is somewhat of an extension," COO John Austin says. "The brand has a lot of name recognition and visual recognition in the community, so we're very proud of that reputation. The group of physicians approached us to say we were doing such great things and that they wanted to participate. We want to replicate what we have up [on the north side]."

JE Dunn Construction Co. broke ground on the three-story, $98 million hospital in November 2007, and the facility will begin treating patients in mid-January 2010. The concrete structure has an exterior insulation finishing system and pitched roof around the perimeter with concrete tile roofing.

The facility will include four catheterization labs, three operating rooms, a 10-bed emergency room, a 15-bed day patient suite and 62 private in-patient rooms. JE Dunn Project Manager Linn Curtis says the facility's interiors will include crown molding and woodwork finishes, which offer a more "comfortable, at-home feel," he says. "It includes finishes that you would tend to see more in residential construction rather than institutional."

OHH South Campus

Although OHH South's care offerings may seem typical, the hospital's design and layout aren't the norm, Austin explains. The patient beds will be situated in pods that each have eight beds; each pod will have two nurses, one technician, equipment room, nourishment station, drug-dispensing unit, cleaning unit, supply unit and support staff.

"Hospitals typically have long hallways, so the pod concept is something unique," Austin explains. "There aren't too many hospitals that have this type of design. It's very efficient from a workflow perspective; a nurse doesn't have to walk the length of the corridor to see one patient, because they're within three or four steps of any one patient. If a patient rings the bell, a nurse is there in seconds."

The hospital's design not only benefits patients, but nurses, as well. But the hospital is still committed to providing attentive care."We'll have one nurse for every four patients, which is a low ratio--you don't see that very often," Austin says. "It lends itself to better care."

OHH South Campus

Focus on Patients

A group of medical facilities share ownership of OHH South, including OHH North, which is 60 percent owner of the new hospital. The other owners include Mercy Health Center, Midwest Regional Medical Center and Normal Regional Health System. Austin says the facility's partial ownership by a group of physicians means the facility is built for optimal care.

"We focus 100 percent on patient care and patient outcomes," Austin states. "That sounds silly for a hospital, because [one would] think they all do that, but we really take that to heart here. Everything is focused on what's best for the patient."

OHH South Campus

Oklahoma regularly ranks among the worst states in occurrence of heart disease, which has spurred the demand for the new facility, Austin says. The state has 77 counties, and the OHH serves at least one person from each county each year.

Proud of the Project

Curtis says JE Dunn is utilizing building information modeling on the project, which has been a successful learning experience for many of the subcontractors. "It was a new experience, but it's turning out pretty well, because we're able to identify the majority of the conflicts and coordination issues you would have with hard-copy shop drawings ahead of time," he states.

The construction company's healthcare expertise and division devoted to healthcare projects have made JE Dunn a good fit for the project, and Curtis says he's proud of helping the city.

"There's definitely need for a heart hospital in this area," he states. "Here in southeast Oklahoma City, it was definitely a big project, so it should hopefully help spur some growth in the area. It's always good to be part of a project that helps spur growth in an area of the city."

Expanding its reach

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