Case study: Hospital integrates all stakeholders

Advocate Aurora Health’s Aurora Sheboygan Memorial Medical Center will include smart rooms and integrated building systems

By By Brad Kult, PE, CTS, HGA, Minneapolis; and Neil Osten, PE, LEED AP, Mortenson, Minneapolis September 20, 2019

In late 2016 Aurora Health Care, now Advocate Aurora Health, engaged HGA and Mortenson in a design-build relationship to design the Aurora Sheboygan Memorial Medical Center, described as the “hospital of the future.”  

Project stakeholders including local and Advocate Aurora Health systemwide leadership, facilities management, information technology, public safety, energy management, construction management and general contractor Mortenson and the HGA design team were engaged from the outset of the project. Planning and design meetings often included representatives from each of these groups.  

The project goals included innovation around smart patient rooms that control lights, temperature, shades and entertainment through bedside touchscreens; energy savings setbacks in patient rooms and operating suites by interfacing with scheduling systems; and intelligent facilities workflow management and energy conservation through automated fault detection and diagnostics.  

Advocate Aurora Health was interested in implementing innovative strategies for improving the efficiency of facilities management processes, including intelligent alarm management, predictive maintenance and root cause analysis for system troubleshooting. They knew additional capabilities were available and they asked the design team to help them understand the additional features they could operationalize.  

HGA led meetings to share a comprehensive vision of how Aurora could maximize its capital investments by connecting facilities, IT, life safety/security and clinical systems to leverage interoperability through exchange of data and application of data analytics to surface actionable insights. After laying out several potential options, the design-build team asked Aurora stakeholders to describe their ideal future state for their systems and operations. The HGA and Mortenson team used this vision of the ideal future state, along with knowledge of the current state, as the basis of a roadmap for future functionality.  

The design-build team conducted an exercise in identifying and prioritizing the organization’s business needs for each user persona including facility director, facility manager, energy manager, staff, physicians and patients. The team created a roadmap for current and future technology strategy by ranking solutions based on their ability to impact those business needs. This produced a prioritized list of system capabilities that could be used to specify system requirements.  

Budget dictated that some functionality had to be deferred for future projects. System selections, network architecture and space planning were made based on a roadmap that helps ensure scalability and flexibility for future functionality.  

The HGA and Mortenson team went on to help the Aurora team evaluate technical options for system integration configurations, selection of equipment and software and data analytics tools that fit their operational needs. It was determined that a master systems integrator would be required to deliver the systems integration and data analytics. The MSI scope was to be delivered using Construction Specifications Institute MasterFormat Division 25 specifications. The MSI will have an ongoing relationship with the facilities department. Although the MSI will touch on many different systems spanning facilities, IT, life safety/security and clinical departments, the facilities department will be directly responsible for holding the MSI support contract which includes the heating, ventilation and air conditioning and lighting controls. 

HGA assisted Mortenson in writing the request for proposal to qualify MSIs and participated in the interview process, helping Aurora select the MSI during design phase as an early trade partner. The role of the MSI during design phase was to advise on specific capabilities of its integration and data analytics package and to validate the team’s innovation concepts to ensure they were technically achievable and cost-effective before they were implemented in the field. Regular coordination with the trade partner contractors and frequent budget updates helped ensure scope and budget alignment throughout design. 

The project design team was composed of strong project management leadership from HGA and Mortenson to manage communications and ensure team alignment among the designers and early trade partners from the fields of low-voltage technology, mechanical, electrical, lighting, architectural and estimating. Team alignment toward the common goals of the integrated mechanical, electrical, plumbing and technology systems was required to complete a successful design that crossed many disciplines.  

The team learned many lessons about specifying and procuring services and equipment through the course of the project. We learned it’s important to discuss the KPIs that will be measured to define success early in the design process so they can be used to help prioritize the value of the proposed integrations. We also learned a great deal about each other’s roles and the capabilities of other systems by interacting with each of the subject matter experts representing their area of expertise. 

The project is currently moving into construction phase and is anticipated to be completed by 2021. At that time, we’ll be able to see how of efforts have paid off. In the meantime, the HGA and Mortenson team is currently engaged to design the next Advocate Aurora Health facility and are applying the lessons learned from this project 

Author Bio: Brad Kult is the director of technology design and planning services at HGA. He is a 2019 Consulting-Specifying Engineer 40 Under 40 award winner. Neil Osten is a mechanical, electrical and plumbing design phase manager with Mortenson. He is a 2019 Consulting-Specifying Engineer 40 Under 40 award winner.