Project Description

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Managing a Possible Increase in Capacity

The Problem

Serving a four-state region in a market with flat growth, a regional hospital’s emergency department was outdated and could not handle current patient volume, let alone any future growth. In addition, rumors were circulating that its only local competitor might be closing. If that hospital did close, our client would be the only hospital in the area, receiving an influx of patients it might not be prepared to handle. The hospital needed a master plan that would update its ED and provide guidance on what steps should be taken to manage the possible increase in capacity.

The Approach

The ED was out of date and unable to accommodate current patient volumes. In addition, it acted as the front door to the hospital. This set-up resulted in most pedestrian traffic moving through the department to access other areas of the facility, constricting access for emergent patients.

Catalyst suggested moving the ED to a different part of the hospital in a newly built addition. Moving the department would improve access by separating ED traffic from patients and visitors for other departments. The new location also allows for the opportunity to build a new tower if the hospital’s patient population were to increase. Using the data provided by Catalyst, management presented the plan for the new ED to its board to secure funding.

The hospital’s competitor was rumored to be shutting down. With only two hospitals in the city, having one close would cause an influx of patients in the remaining hospital. If our hospital was unable to accommodate the increased volume, patients would need to travel farther to receive care. Not knowing with certainty whether the competitor would actually close, management was unsure how to approach planning for possibly increased volume.

Initially management thought they might need to spend $100 million on a new, multistory tower. Catalyst evaluated different solutions to account for either incremental growth or an inundation of patients. Catalyst developed options that allowed the hospital to adjust based on future scenarios. We outlined methods to relocate and streamline services to create inpatient capacity. Finding an operations solution gave the hospital the flexibility to quickly create capacity if needed rather than prematurely committing to a large capital investment.

The relocated ED also allowed for the addition of a patient tower if it was ultimately needed and be appropriately co-located with primary entry points for patients and adjacencies with clinical and support departments. Coordinating the location of the new ED with options for different growth scenarios gave the hospital a stepwise roadmap of solutions to follow based on what happened in the market.

The Solution

Our client was grateful for the operations solutions Catalyst provided that would eliminate the need for an immediate $100 million investment in addition to the capital needed for the new ED. They also appreciated having a clear path forward to address the multiple scenarios that could happen in the market.

Project Details




Regional Hospital


Strategic Facility Master Plan

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