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Imagine moving a 1.1 million square foot home

We are now just one year away from the day we move patients into the new hospital.

It would be an understatement to say that there is a lot of planning going on. There are so many details for the overall hospital planning and department-specific planning.  If you have ever moved from one house to another, you understand the effort of packing, sorting, discarding, moving, unpacking, sorting, discarding, etc. Consider doing this for a 1.1 million square foot house.

An organized plan is a must, but where to start?

We call this planning process “activation,” and it basically consists of asking and answering hundreds of questions.

How will we move the patients on move day and in what order? What departments have to be in the building before we move? What about staffing – how many people do we need on move-day and on every day in the new hospital?  What about equipment – who moves it and when?  Telephones – they need to work in the old unit and the new unit – how do we make this happen?  And what about our families – how will we include them in this day? How can they be helpful?  How can we minimize stress for them?

These are only a handful of questions that are running though my mind (and my in my dreams) on a daily basis.

One way we answer some of these questions are by meetings with our planning leads. We have three specific meetings (overall, team and department level) that we are using to communicate information to and from departments and the activation project managers.

Every month in the overall activation planning meetings we meet with the leaders of all the departments moving into the new hospital.   At this large meeting, we share global information that everyone needs to know about.  Typical topics include status of equipment purchases, furniture layouts, computer needs, telephone pilots.   We have about 150 people attend each month including nurses, doctors, respiratory therapy, environmental services, security, admissions, etc. Everyone at these meetings is responsible for carrying messages back to their teams, helping us communicate to every person who will be affected by the patient move.

The second round of meetings each month is called the team meeting. This is where we give each department assignments. One of the assignments was to validate the names of all the staff members that will need to go through an “orientation” for working in the new hospital. At the moment we are around 6,000 people that need to be oriented.  6000! Other assignments include looking at all the forms that we use and which ones will need to be changed because we are moving.

One additional meeting is at the department level. This is where the work gets done. Each area has to accomplish the task of the assignment by a specified deadline in order to keep the whole activation process on schedule.

Each department, unit, and area has common needs as well as unique needs. In our planning we are addressing this with a roadmap.  The roadmap will be the instruction book for moving our hospital from its current home to our new home.  Our goal is to have the details planned so well that anyone here could pick up this roadmap and move a unit.

The ongoing excitement about our new hospital is pervasive, and fortunately it keeps everyone’s energy levels high through all the meetings and work taking place.  Everyone is trying their best to plan and be prepared. It is difficult to plan a huge move and do your everyday work, but our staff is doing a great job.

If you’ve been involved in a big move – whether it be a house, an office, or an entire organization – what were your biggest “lessons learned” or tips you’d like to share?