Project Description

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Peer Review Study

The Problem

Catalyst was engaged to provide peer review services for a recently completed campus master plan that indicated a new nine-story inpatient and surgery tower on top of a new ground floor emergency department. The hospital system was concerned about some organizational aspects of the new design.

The Approach

Through blocking and stacking diagramming, Catalyst demonstrated that aligning the floor planes of the existing building to serve surgery and new tower bed units resulted in less than optimal floor-to-floor heights in the emergency department. Further, plan elements such as stairs, elevators, and shafts dictated by the tower structure impeded the ED’s functionality and flow. Through patient flow analysis and computer simulation modeling, Catalyst found that the department would be costly to operate and would not be flexible enough to support surging ED operations. Catalyst then provided schematic design and design development services to carry out our peer review recommendations and develop operational processes in tandem with the new design.

The Solution

Catalyst’s peer review recommendation proposed renovating and expanding the existing department in place. This solution would maintain connectivity to the hospital, capitalize upon existing infrastructure, and preserve the site for future expansion. This would also allow decoupling the ED from the larger and more politically charged surgery and bed tower expansion. Unencumbered by provisions for future vertical expansion, the resulting plan offered the ability to “accordion” based upon volume and incorporated features for improved throughput to free up beds for incoming patients. By increasing flexibility in the plan, the hospital was able to build fewer treatment rooms in the Emergency Department while still reducing length of stay.

Project Details




Large Academic Medical Center


Peer Review Analysis

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To justify our recommendation, we measured the capacity and efficiency of the North Plan and found that the various vertical connections encumbered the ability of the design to perform optimally.

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