Northeast Georgia Health System Selects Architect and Contractor for New Hospital in Braselton
The architectural firm is Hammel, Green and Abrahamson (HGA). HGA is a national leader in healthcare design, with a track record of success in integrating evidence based design research, lean principles and the total patient experience into the design process. Their healthcare expertise includes campus planning and design for academic medical centers, ambulatory care centers, hospitals and women & children’s care centers. HGA’s commitment to quality architecture has been recognized with more than 300 national, state and regional design awards. In May 2011, HGA was named one of nine finalists in Kaiser Permanente’s international “Small Hospital, Big Idea” competition which sought design concepts for a small, eco-conscious, patient- and family-friendly hospital that uses the best in emerging medical technology to coordinate and deliver care.
“What impressed us most about HGA is how they operate as a clinical consultant, designing the clinical process first and then the structure,” says Carol Burrell, NGHS president and CEO. “They also excel in utilizing lean principles of eliminating waste as they design the process flow, which is integral to our culture of operational excellence, so they are a natural fit.”
HGA uses an interdisciplinary approach to designing clinical spaces. They are involving staff from outside the clinical area, as well as innovative thinkers from across the organization, to look at processes with fresh eyes to see how the total patient experience can be enhanced and efficiency improved.
Burrell emphasizes the extensive research and due diligence that went into the organization’s choice of an architect for the NGMC Braselton hospital.
“During the last three years, we have spent time interviewing architects across the country and talking with hospitals who have built new facilities to put together a list of more than 30 potential consultants,” she says. “After we narrowed down our search to four finalists, we visited a recent project from each of the four finalists to see their work in person and talk with their clients.”
“Our guiding principle in choosing the architect and the contractor was innovation,” says Spence Price, CFO of The Adams Companies, and one of the community representatives serving on the Braselton Steering Committee, which oversaw the selection process. “This came forward after the Steering Committee and NGHS physicians completed a survey asking what would make the NGMC Braselton project a success in our minds. We know that building this new hospital in Braselton is a landmark opportunity for this organization, so we want to ensure that we are choosing consultants that are leading their fields and truly understand our vision for this facility. We also know that this project will have a tremendous economic impact on our community and region, so it is important to us to choose companies who will utilize local participation in the construction process as much as possible.”
To help facilitate the selection process, NGHS worked with leading healthcare design expert Craig Zimring, PhD. Dr. Zimring is an environmental psychologist and professor of architecture at Georgia Tech whose research has focused on understanding the relationships between the physical environment of healthcare facilities and human satisfaction, performance, and behavior. He currently serves on the board of the Center for Health Design, has more than 75 publications in the scholarly and professional press and has won 10 awards for his research. Dr. Zimring assisted NGHS with the development of their architect request for proposal, including very specific criteria regarding evidence based design and the importance of the patient experience.
NGHS has selected Turner Construction as the general contractor for NGMC Braselton. Turner has a wealth of experience in healthcare construction, completing more than 1,000 healthcare projects in the last 10 years, including 82 academic medical centers, 47 cancer centers, 32 children’s hospitals, 88 ambulatory care facilities, 21 women’s centers and more than 600 acute care facilities. Their dedicated Healthcare group offers clients information about industry trends in design and technology, guidance when it comes to cost, scheduling and constructability and a wealth of lessons learned from their previous healthcare projects.
“In many of their recent projects, Turner has incorporated Lean construction delivery processes, which have yielded improvements in efficiency, reliability, and overall satisfaction with both the construction project and end product,” says Anthony Williamson, vice president of Greater Braselton and Service Line Development, who is leading the NGMC Braselton development project. “While HGA is focused on incorporating our staff’s Lean work processes into the design of the new hospital, Turner utilizes Lean principles themselves in their construction work – for example, in the way they schedule subcontractors to complete the work. They also place a high emphasis on energy efficiency, which was very important to us.”
Williamson says an innovative aspect of the process is bringing the contractor and the design team together early in the process, along with some sub contractors, so that planning and design can be completed with all the parties in sync and offering input into the process.
Working with HGA, NGHS is now developing several teams to guide the planning process, made up of staff, physicians and community members. One team, which began work this week, is focused on the patient experience. By interviewing patients and finding out what delighted them and what disappointed them about their hospital stays, team members will craft the ideal patient experience, which HGA will use as the focal point for their design.
“We are excited to be moving forward with our plans,” says Williamson, “and are pleased with the staff, physician and community enthusiasm we have received as we have started to solicit input into the process.”For more information about NGMC Braselton, call 770-219-3840.