From Design to Reality……. Charting the Course to Occupy New Space
Completing the construction timeline and planning for new space is a very exciting and challenging time. As you come closer to opening your new area there is only one question remaining, “How will you plan to occupy it?”
Move Planning, the last hurdle before opening a new building or department, requires focused attention and detail, adequate time and multiple resources to accomplish. It is equal in task to the architect drawings or building the structure itself, and complicated by the need to continue to provide services and care to patients and families while supporting all end users, providers and staff.
If you are fortunate you have been an active participant from project initiation through all phases of planning and construction. There is always a wish list, and the required CON [Certificate of Need], budget and space constraints, change requests, overrides and negotiations. It is imperative that the team knows and understands the differences between “nice to have” and “need to have” and is willing to embrace changes in process and workflow to increase efficiency and patient throughput.
Active readiness begins early in the project to draft an outline of anticipated changes with new space, services, equipment and staff. Complete an inventory all that is currently existing and all that is planned to be moved. Plan out storage on a high level to determine that there is adequate location for everything. What needs quick access, what can be further away?
Anticipate changes the future will bring. Increasing and expanding computerized and electronic systems and devices, interoperability, interfaces, data collection and regulatory compliance; less paper and more access to electronically stored. Develop the foundational assessment documents you will need to continue your move planning process.
There are 4 active phases of work associated with occupying new space: Prep, Pre-Move, Move and Post Move Monitoring and Support. Each phase relies on key resources and groups to determine needs, develop plans and make decisions with the utmost accuracy and due diligence. These decisions will each positively or negatively impact the opening of new space. The prime directive should always be the optimal delivery of care and services, facilitating staff/ provider workflow, and maximizing the patient experience.
Approximately twelve months ahead of opening, resources need to be identified. Whether you plan to hire a consultant, outsource and/or manage the work internally, you will need to identify key people and decision makers within the organization and the project itself. An internal Project Manager is essential to organize and lead teams and facilitate processes. This person is a key communicator to all, but also must have direct access to Senior Management and the construction team. Important information may be uncovered in the planning process which would require authority review and follow-up action.
Move planning teams include resources by department and the Move Group at large. Templates are built to facilitate collection of information, move planning and space readiness. Task lists are distributed to each group with identification of dates due. Approximately six months ahead, Teams meet weekly to review needs and give/acquire status updates. These groups should be informed of any change requests to the design so that the impact to space and functionality can be evaluated. Ideally representatives are included in reviewing any open change requests to identify options from an end user perspective. There is nothing worse than making a change that works on paper and for the bottom line but is ultimately dysfunctional and unusable.
Without a doubt Communication is the single most effective tool in creating success. When led effectively, communication brings everyone to the table as equal voices. Communication shares everything: information, ideas, needs, and solutions. It motivates, excites, instructs, prepares, directs and reassures. The understanding achieved by effective communication leads to successful strategies and plans to move and occupy new space and the new reality, functionally and effectively.