Release Date: July 23, 2010

Appleton Medical Center's new addition built to maximize efficiencies

The Post-Cresent

Rising above the surrounding tree line, Appleton Medical Center's new eight-story addition, featuring 112 ultra-modern private rooms, has been referred to by some as a once-in-a-lifetime project.

The facility's rooms, each designed to help ThedaCare's medical staff maximize efficiencies practiced through its Collaborate Care model, a team-based approach to caring for patients, replaces those that had been used since 1958. AMC staff will begin moving patients into the new building on Monday.

Representatives for ThedaCare said extensive planning went into the project, which is part of a three-year, $90 million initiative announced in 2008 to modernize the system's facilities.

"We have new care processes," said Kathryn Correia, president of AMC and Theda Clark Medical Center in Neenah and senior vice president of ThedaCare. "The new space (at AMC) was developed to support those new processes."

She's referring to ThedaCare's Collaborate Care model, which borrows from lean manufacturing methods and continuously improves care using streamlined procedures. ThedaCare has said during a six-year period, its efficiency initiatives have boosted productivity 5 percent and trimmed operating costs $27 million.

Theda Clark in Neenah is also updating. Rooms there are being redesigned like the new rooms at AMC. That work will continue through 2011.
Correia expects AMC's newest addition to provide many years of service, though since the system is following a continuous improvement model, updates may be necessary at some point.

"We did research and forecast out where we think the community's needs would be, so we're hoping to get a minimum of 15 years (before any updating would be needed)," she said.

While collaborative care's needs may change, the building itself should last decades.

"It's a 50-year structure," said Trent Jezwinski, director of health care construction for the Appleton-based Boldt Co., which built AMC's new Pavilion.

On the inside, the design maximizes natural lighting and walls have earth tone colors to create a relaxing environment.

Jezwinski said the building incorporates many environmentally friendly design elements.

Solar energy will be used to heat water used in the Pavilion, he said.

Jezwinski said the building was designed with the patient in mind.

"The rooms may have updated technology, but it isn't about all the new bells and whistles," he said. "I hope what patients and visitors see is that the design and effort is to ensure the patient is the focus."