Hospital of the future

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In early 2011 the board of Central Finland Healthcare District met to discuss the future of the central hospital. Over the previous ten years roughly 10 million euro a year had been spent on expanding the hospital and keeping existing buildings in an acceptable state. The hospital had been dogged by persistent internal air problems and staff in particular had been suffering severely, with many unable to work in certain buildings. Despite corrective measures no end to these problems could be found. Logistically too, the hospital had become a nightmare, a warren of tunnels and corridors built over a period of sixty years that made security, cleaning and maintenance laborious and costly. Nor could new care processes be successfully implemented due to the hospital’s physical limitations. It was time for a radical re-think.

The CEO at that time, Jouko Isolauri, presented a report commissioned from the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health on the state of the hospital buildings. For some the report was shocking, for others it presented a marvellous opportunity to remodel specialist health care in a manner appropriate for the mid-21st century. 60% of the hospital buildings were in need of immediate refurbishment and a move into temporary facilities would thus be impossible; furthermore, refurbishment would cost more than a new build. This was the moment; it became clear that only a completely new hospital building designed around new patient-driven healthcare processes, first class logistics and optimized use of energy and human resources was called for.

By 2012 the criteria for the new hospital project had been set. Patient first thinking, efficient use of space, construction to an exacting standard and a 10% reduction in operating costs were the guiding principles. Support services – laboratory, laundry, ITC, catering – would all be reorganised over the following four years not by outsourcing, but by means of strategic partnerships. By the end of 2013 the approximate size and style of the new hospital had been decided, but the location was still open. After careful consideration the Kukkumäki option behind the current hospital was chosen and the investment decision made in December 2014. Work on the new hospital began in the late spring of 2016 with preparation of the site; construction got fully under way after the summer break.

The new hospital will be 108 500 brm2 in size – considerably smaller than the current hospital – and will have some 368 beds, of which 100 will be dedicated to primary health care. These will be single person rooms of standard design and similarly equipped and will provide facilities for a relative or friend to stay in the same room as necessary. When complete in 2020 Hospital Nova will serve around 250 000 people in Central Finland and also provide primary healthcare services for roughly 50 000 people in the Jyväskylä area.

Hospitals naturally do not come cheap. The current cost estimate, including the long-debated catering facility, is 411 million euro and the early signs are that this is a realistic figure. A large proportion of the finance for the project has been provided by the European Investment Bank on very favourable terms. Assuming an annual cost saving of 10% the hospital should pay for itself within fifteen years – and provide quality healthcare to patients and a pleasant, functional working environment for staff for many, many decades to come.

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