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An early look at the new Kaiser Permanente O.C. campus

The Anaheim Medical Center offers a healing environment for all

by Caitlin AdamsPublished: July 26, 2012 03:30 PM

Kaiser Permanente is preparing to open its newest Orange County medical facility in September and yesterday invited OC METRO to tour some of the departments at the new Anaheim Medical Center.

The new center, housed in two six-story buildings on La Palma Avenue, features both medical practice offices and hospital services and facilities, designating it as a Medical Center instead of just a hospital.

The distinctive campus begins with a three-acre healing garden, providing visitors and patients with an outdoor environment away from the bustle of the treatment center. The gardens offer three separate areas for different purposes: an area for congregation and group events, a family area, and a quiet area for peaceful reflection.

Joe Stasney, the project director for the new Anaheim Medical Center, said the gardens give visitors the opportunity separate themselves from everything else they might be experiencing at the medical center. “It’s got three different levels of experience. Again, the whole concept of healing begins not just inside, but outside as well.”

Entering the reception area, visitors are met with an autoplay piano and interactive touchscreen displays with information on the facility, other Kaiser Permanente centers, directories, local area information, and more. A six-foot stand-alone interactive touchscreen display allows visitors to learn about Kaiser’s health initiatives, view videos, send messages to patients’ rooms, or just have fun interacting with the display.

“The whole concept here is [windows]-based touchscreen technology. Each one of those bubbles you see with the little spinning disk in it gives you access to different levels of information, gives you access to video, for example, so you can take a look at some of the screenshots that we’ve had running on public television,” Stasney said.

“I would describe a lot of what we’ve done in this building as having ‘distractive technologies,’” said Julie Miller-Phipps, senior vice president and executive director for Kaiser Permanente Orange County. “When someone comes into a hospital or a medical office building, they always have a heightened sense of emotion and more times than not a little bit of concern, etcetera, so things like this, the music that you hear with the piano, helps to bring down and calm the nerves. We know it works for Nordstrom, so we hope it works for here. And it does, you can just feel your tension go away.”

Miller-Phipps added that the facility also has a harpist who plays at the medical center a couple of times during the week, and also invites therapy dogs to visit the patients.

“All of this is really intended, the artwork, the music, along with these distractive modalities, to help you have a sense of calm and control over your wellbeing while you’re in the facility,” she said.

Among the patients who may benefit the most from these distracting elements are those who may need the most help in getting their minds off the reason for their visit: children. The experience throughout the hospital is developed around what the patient is likely to be feeling when they arrive, Stasney said.

“So pediatric oncology, as you can imagine, is probably one of the least favorable experiences you can possibly have on this campus. The children are very ill in most cases, and we took that to heart by looking how to create a space for those children.”

The pediatric oncology suite, occupying the sixth floor of Building 2, is clearly designed with aim of distracting children from thinking about why they are there. The waiting area is full of blue and green fluid lines, with touchscreens for cartoons or Playstation video games, and a constellation module window in the ceiling.

Past the waiting area, the treatment stations are named for constellations –– Draco, Pegasus and Ophiucus, among others –– with each station featuring its named constellation twinkling on the ceiling above, as well as a Playstation touchscreen next to the patient’s seat. A large fish tank bubbles in the nurses’ station.

Leaving the kid-friendly pediatric floor, the medical center offers both in- and outpatient surgery services, in two distinct areas, with eight inpatient operating rooms and six outpatient operating rooms. Surgeries and patients are tracked on an electronic display screen system, allowing doctors, nurses and staff to stay informed of which procedures are taking place in which rooms.

A similar display screen in family waiting areas keeps loved ones apprised of patients’ progress through surgery, with patient numbers substituted for names to maintain privacy.

The operating rooms feature the latest in medical technology, including touchscreens, 3D diagrams of CAT-scans, and high-definition cameras for use during surgeries. HealthConnect, Kaiser Permanente’s electronic health record system, is always connected and displays a patient’s current records during the procedure, as well.

“As a physician, I think HealthConnect is the most important steady part of the whole hospital. Everyone comes in and likes the pretty stuff, but behind the scenes, HealthConnect is what makes the hospital run,” said Dr. Joshua Cain, an anesthesiologist and physician transition leader for the new medical center.

The HealthConnect electronic makes a patient’s entire medical history available to physicians at any time during appointments, treatment or surgery.

The maternity ward is designed to offer mothers a home-like environment for their child’s birth; all technology systems are concealed behind cabinet doors, presenting as few trappings of a hospital at first glance as possible. When a mother first arrives at the room, it is difficult to identify as a medical room, beyond, perhaps, the wheeled supports under the bed. The medical center boasts ten delivery rooms and three rooms specially equipped for C-section births.

A special artwork, depicting a woman with flowers in her hair cradling her newborn, features a special button that mothers are invited to press following their child’s delivery, which plays a lullaby throughout the whole hospital. Not only does the music share the news of an arrival with everyone in the hospital, but it also alerts the nurses in the recovery room to prepare to receive mother and child soon.

In the case of a difficult delivery or if issues arise, parents might visit the neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU, following their child’s birth. This area features 20 private, enclosed treatment rooms with full technology and nearby attendants’ stations, with at least one attending nurse within line of sight of each newborn at all times.

Bringing the theme of nature indoors, all art and thematic elements throughout both medical center buildings revolve around the natural worlds. Artworks, mainly by local artists, are found throughout the facility depicting the natural world, plants, flowers, landscapes, ocean elements, and more.

“The main emphasis was healing, positive, and calm, serene, healthy environment,” said Karen Tejcka, medical group administrator.

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