Enhancements in the emergency department at the new facility at North Alabama Medical Center (NAMC) will have a profound impact on the North Alabama region, making access to emergency care both more efficient and intuitive.
Opening on December 6, North Alabama Medical Center will replace Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital (ECM) in order to improve access to quality regional healthcare. The $250 million technologically advanced medical center will include an upgraded emergency department, including an improved floor plan to improve efficiency and updated technology to centralize medical care in the region.
“The design of this ER, from the counters, to the drop-down ceilings, to the design of the rooms facing each other in pods, are all sound dampening; it will make this the quietest ER you ever walked in,” said Mike Howard, Chief Operating Officer at NAMC. “It will be quiet in here. If it is a full house, it will seem like nobody is here, and that’s what we want, because it’s calming.”
The floor plan of the new hospital was planned to segment higher acuity and lower acuity patients, with fast-track bays for non-critical patients to receive quick treatment, reducing unnecessary time spent in the hospital and saving time for employees. Further time-saving additions include the placement of the cardiac cath lab conveniently in between the ER and surgery departments to decrease travel time throughout the hospital, and an efficient registration process that will result in shorter-than-average wait times for patients.
No aspect of the design was left unconsidered as the ER was updated, all the way down to materials and styles for the walls and ceilings.
The size of each room was planned to create necessary space for patient care without adding extra length to the hallway to reduce walking distance for hospital staff. “We built the perfect size room,” said Howard. “It’s big enough to treat patients, and there’s no wasted space.” The chosen materials for the walls, Acrovyn, is a high-impact plastic that will prevent denting in the walls from stretchers. This dent prevention will not only prevent repairs to the walls, but also maintain a smoother, antimicrobial surface to keep the ER more sanitary.
An innovative tube system at NAMC is equipped to transport not only medicines and supplies, but also blood and narcotics throughout the hospital. The ability to transport sensitive materials through a system like this is the first of its kind in the region, and it will save nurses and staff from making multiple trips across the hospital each day to deliver prescriptions and daily blood samples, among countless other kinds of supplies.
Psych-ready rooms at NAMC will be easily converted back into standard ER rooms with sliding doors. This immediate transformation of the capabilities of each room will save time for nurses providing care to patients, allowing every room in the ER to be fully accessible at a moment’s notice.
The advancements in the NAMC emergency room will centralize emergency care in the region, preventing patients from traveling to the next-closest hospital in crisis situations. NAMC is honored to be at the heart of enhanced emergency care in Northern Alabama.