Magazine article Health Facilities Management

Virtual Care Center Connects Worlds of Technology and Nature

Magazine article Health Facilities Management

Virtual Care Center Connects Worlds of Technology and Nature

Article excerpt

Distinctive for its high-tech method of delivering comprehensive health care from one remote site, the new $54 million Mercy Virtual Care Center, Chesterfield, Mo., is designed to foster collaboration in a flexible space that also keeps its staff connected to nature.

From all indications, it has delivered on the objectives. The 125,000-sq. ft., four-story facility integrates telemedicine technology with a multidisciplinary clinical team, the availability of electronic health record data in real time and the ability to utilize advanced algorithms to detect patients who need immediate intervention.

The virtual care center houses the technology and clinicians for three major programs including Mercy SafeWatch, Connect-Now and CareEngage. ConnectNow links patients and providers with online-enabled instruments to perform medical exams and view test results. SafeWatch provides 24-hour patient monitoring using video, audio or online-enabled medical devices. CareMatters analytics tools and technologies help providers manage current and future patient health needs.

Obviously, that level and type of care requires a special facility. Mercy and design firm Forum Studio/Clayco, St. Louis, collaborated closely to design and build what the health care system believes will transform patient care delivery, says Matthew Hanis, senior vice president for business development, Mercy.

"From the ground up, the building is built to support a mission of the integration of faith, our goal to innovate and be entrepreneurial, and to transform the care process and the importance of serving our patients and our co-workers," Hanis says.

Rectangular, 30,000-sq. ft. floor plates are designed to optimize flexibility and accommodate future programs and technology. Circular meeting rooms with large-screen monitors foster innovation, an important element that Mercy wanted to incorporate within the facility, says Tyler Meyr, associate principal and lead designer, Forum Studio.

The flexibility factor is evident on the top floor with its movable white board walls and massive video board that is 7 feet high by 35 feet long. The setup accommodates the need for staff interaction within and outside Mercy's system, says David Hirschbuehler, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, associate principal and institutional core group leader, Forum Studio. …

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