Published on September 26, 2013

Innovation is cornerstone of Clay County’s newest hospital

By João Bicalho, Clay Today

MIDDLEBURG – Clay County’s first new hospital in 40 years not only offers patients a second choice in healthcare, it is bringing a combination of high-tech and high-touch.

The $110 million facility built on 35 acres near Blanding Boulevard and Branan Field Road opens Oct. 1 and offers a new concept in intensive care treatment – telemedicine at no extra cost to the patient.

"[It’s] the first one in Florida," said Blain Claypool, president of St. Vincent’s Medical Center Clay County. "They do not charge more for the patient."

Telemedicine is an audio visual service that is in every Intensive Care Unit room that offers 24/7 medical assistance. Waiting for a doctor is now a thing of the past. The patient will have "a doctor" respond in no longer than "20-30 seconds," said Claypool.

A screen is plugged to a video camera powerful enough to get all the details health care providers need when a patient to make a diagnosis or check on a patient. A microphone is placed on the ceiling and the audio and – together with the video – they convey the information necessary so health providers can the fastest response possible.

"They can zoom in to see the pupils of the patient’s eyes," said Claypool Sept. 19 during a media tour of the new 64-bed hospital.

The response team, on the other side of the screen, is located in St. Louis, Mo. Tele-Health, as the service is also known, allows health providers to stay connected at all times, he said. The system, Advanced ICU, interconnects with the electronic medical record and monitoring equipment in the ICU. It allows physicians and nurses, at Advanced ICU, to have all the patients’ information at their fingertips at all times.

Once information is received, Claypool said, key data elements are fed into a system that predicts outcomes of ICU patients and trends their health status.

The three-story state-of-the-art hospital also includes an emergency room with 12 adult beds and four pediatric beds. The hospital will also include two gastrointestinal labs, one catheterization lab and a radiology room.

There will be six "identical operating rooms," Claypool said. All the hospital lights, including those inside the operating rooms, are turned on and off by a motion sensor.

Adding to the state-of-the-art facility is a cutting edge air management system aimed to filter the air in its operating rooms. The Laminar Air Flow pumps a curtain of filtered air around a sterile field to protect the surgical environment. Clean air shields the patient on the operation table "as air-flow helps preventing infection," Claypool said.

Patients can enter through the Paul E. & Klare Reinhold Medical Mall, which includes check-in, imaging and admission testing, a small coffee convenience store, a gift shop and a cashier. As soon as a patient arrives at the mall, through the hospital main doors, said Claypool, a "check-in" will be available in the form of "palm-scanning."

"Come to the ER," said Claypool. "Put your palm down and you’re registered."

The system is called "biometric registration" and has to be entered with the patient’s birthday date.

Details were so seriously-designed with the patient in mind that even extra-large oversized custom chairs were provided to accommodate bariatric patients comfortably, he said.

"We designed the hospital for the patient," said Claypool.

And, as Clay County is projected to grow, St. Vincent’s Clay County can grow easily with it.

"We can expand the hospital outward," Claypool said. "We can also raise the roof and add a floor."

Walls can be removed easily. "The hospital will eventually offer 250 beds for Clay County patients" without impacting or changing the points of entry during construction, he said. As for the "visual cues," the elongated walls built at an angle have a purpose.

"You’ll know where to go," said Claypool.

No more feeling lost in a sterile, white, clean long corridor. As soon as a visitor or patient makes a turn, walls at an angle "will allow you to see the nurses’ station," he said. Even the windows in the rooms are placed at an angle so patients can have a better view of the outside.

The hospital comes equipped with "five mobile units, for five counties," he said. A helipad is also built on the hospital site and two ambulances stay on the premises.

An adjacent 50,000-square-foot medical is fully leased, said Claypool. "We’ll have a second building ... we’re bringing a lot of specialties to the heart of Clay."

The hospital is projected to make up to an $80 million impact each year on the economy, Clayppol said by creating highpaying jobs and creating other ancillary business.

"Approximately three-fourths of our staff live in Clay County," he said. "We came to health care because we wanted to serve."

The hallways at St. Vincent’s Clay County offer spacious areas for families to sit and gather in comfort and style.

View the article in Clay Today.