Inside one of the brains orchestrating “The Big Move”

This weekend, we will officially open the doors to the new C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital when we move our current patients from the old building to the new one, and begin accepting new patients through the doors of this state-of-the-art facility.  As we get ready for The Big Move, we stole a few moments from one of the busiest people involved in the move – our Medical Director, pediatric gastroenterologist Dr. Chris Dickinson – to get a glimpse into what’s going on in his mind on the eve of this event that’s been years in the making.

Q:  Dr. Dickinson, what’s your role in getting us ready for The Big Move?

A:  I’m the Medical Director for the move – the clinical leader who coordinates all the processes, insures each unit is ready to move, gives the ultimate “green light” for each unit to begin their journey from the old building to the new, and makes sure everything is ready for them when they get there. and we’re all in this together

Q:  What has been the biggest surprise  planning  The Big Move?

A:  It’s been a lot more work than I could ever have imagined.  I suppose it’s complicated because we MADE it complicated.  We have spent a lot of time thinking of complicated “what if” scenarios . What if a pregnant mother traveling through Ann Arbor shows up in the emergency room ready to deliver triplets in the middle of The Big Move?  Would she deliver in the old building or the new one?  Would the equipment we would need for such a complicated scenario be here or there? We will know exactly what to do because we have a plan for it. For that and for hundreds of other “what if” scenarios.  We’ve thought of a lot of strange things that could happen and how we’d respond.  We’re ready.  There are a lot of people each with individual responsibilities making sure it all works the way it’s supposed to this weekend.

Q:  How have you approached the process of planning how we’ll get hundreds of patients moved from one building into another without compromising the care they’re receiving?

A:    Over the last several months we came up with categories of types of patients based on what resources they might need, such as whether a patient requires a ventilator or is on oxygen and what type of staff will need to be with them as they’re moved from one building to the other.  Now that we’re just days away we’re actually working on the move plans for each individual patient and it’s going really well thanks to the planning we’ve done to account for the “types” of patients we anticipated to move.

Q:  What’s keeping you up at night?

A:  We’ve been planning for so long, we’re ready for anything I can think of.  You can’t help but think of the “worst case scenario,” though.  But even when I think of the “worst case scenario,” we even have plans for how we’ll adapt if that happens I’d like to think all the critical thinking that’s gone into the planning will result in the right people being in the right places so they’re there for the staff and families when they need them.

The good news is, we are documenting EVERYTHING that’s happening – every phone call that comes into the Command Center, every question, every wrinkle in the process – so that we can share what we learn with other hospitals taking on this kind of challenge in the future.  We learned a lot when we talked with other health systems that had opened new hospitals and we want to help others learn from us.  There aren’t a lot of examples of hospitals this size taking on a move that’s this complicated, so we will have a lot to share.

Q:  How will you know you succeeded when The Big Move wraps up this weekend?

A:  When everyone is safely tucked into their new room, we’ll know we did our job.  I am going to be watching the looks on our staff’s faces – watching to see if the anxiety is replaced by excitement now that we’re finally moved in.  The closer we’ve gotten to The Big Move, the more I’m picking up on the worries and stress related to such a big undertaking turning into team spirit and excitement. It’s like getting ready to move from one house to another – you’re excited to get there, you know it’s going to be great – you just want everything to go well on moving day.  Our moving day is a lot more complicated, but I think we’ll get a feel for how it went just by looking around at each other.  I think we’ll look happy. Tired, but happy.


Related Blog Posts


About Mott Children’s Hospital

University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital is consistently ranked one of the best hospitals in the country. It was nationally ranked in all ten pediatric specialties in U.S. News Media Group’s “America’s Best Children’s Hospitals,” including #3 in the country for heart and heart surgery. In November, the hospital moves to a new state-of-the-art facility that will be home to cutting-edge specialty services for newborns, children and women.