UPPER MARLBORO – Representatives from the University of Maryland Capital Region Health met with Prince George’s County Council for a checkup last week and gave an update on the status of the construction of the Regional Medical Center in Largo Town Center, as well as an overview of the technology and workflow enhancements the facility will utilize.
“We have a unique opportunity to build a brand-new hospital and implement all the right technologies to improve the patient experience,” said Henry Archibong, the IT site executive for the University of Maryland Capital Region Health.
The hospital will include 205 inpatient rooms, eight operating rooms, a cancer center, a cardiac rehabilitation center and outpatient clinics, among other services.
This new technology will include digital signage throughout the hospital, a patient look-up service for visitors, an integrated bedside terminal complete with services, educational resources, entertainment and the capacity for video chat. There will also be the ability for staff notifications to be sent via mobile. For instance, a Code Blue, which indicates a patient is in need of resuscitation or other immediate attention, can be sent directly to the staff rather than being announced overhead.
The technology will also enhance the workflow. For instance, a staff team may receive an alert to clean a room after a patient is discharged.
Plans for the hospital also include a command center to monitor the functionality of the various devices.
County Council Vice-Chair Todd Turner and Councilwoman Deni Taveras said they hope redundancies will be in place at the hospital as safeguards in case the technology goes down.
“I share (Turner’s) concern about what happens when technology doesn’t work, or somebody (loses) their phone or the batteries or running low,” Taveras said. “That was just the red flag I felt.”
Sherry Perkins, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the University of Maryland Capital Region Health, said there will be drills to help staff know how to operate if the technology goes down.
“I appreciate the caution from both of you. Our core principle is safety and experience,” Perkins said. “What’s most important is what you do when something doesn’t go right and what you have planned for those contingencies.”
Archibong added that this technology will be implemented in phases.
“People can only absorb so much technology,” he said.
He further said the staff visited a hospital in Canada that has been implementing this sort of technology for years. The University of Maryland Capital Region Health will be able to learn from their best practices as they move forward with this hospital development.
There will also be redundancies in case one system fails.
And, since the hospital will not open for a few more years, it may incorporate technology that is not yet invented.
“Technology constantly gets better,” Archibong said. “Three years from now, we may be looking at things that don't even exist yet.”
The groundbreaking took place November. The site excavation for the building pad took place in March, and the building foundation is scheduled to begin in April.
All construction is scheduled to be completed in December 2020, with a grand opening planned for April 2021.
Councilman Obie Patterson expressed his concern that the southern portion of the county has not been adequately taken into consideration with planning for the medical center, as they are further from the site in Largo.
“I don’t see the coordination with any key partners in the southern part of the state. I hope there’s a plan of action to take care of some of that concern I’m getting from my district,” Patterson said. “We’re going to be excited and want to use the new facility. But, if you don’t make people a part of the process as we progressively move through it, it takes time to cultivate that after the project is finished.”
Perkins said she is interested in exploring how they can do a “better job of communication and outreach” to the southern part of the county and make sure they are responsive to all zip codes.