Session Detail

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Monday, December 6, 2021  |  1:45 PM - 2:45 PM

Open to Conference Attendees Only

Bed demands are NOT declining: An AMC's Response Pre & Post COVID-19

Holly Harris, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
Architect and Healthcare Planner, SmithGroup
Simon Lazar
Architectural Designer, SmithGroup
Rashad Young
Assistant Project Manager, Power Construction

Northwestern Memorial Hospital (NMH) is 22-stories, 2-million SF in downtown Chicago. When increased patient acuity and a consistently occupied beds forced patients to remain in the ER longer, NMH began transforming its ambulatory pavilion into an inpatient tower in 2007. SmithGroup is executing the next phase, adding 64 beds to the campus. SmithGroup conducted POE's of the previous transformations and benchmarked bed towers across the country and compared them with NMH pavilions. The team leveraged these results to convert square-shaped ambulatory clinics into inpatient floors, all while planning for functional flexibility to support universal operational procedures. This session highlights the problem definition, planning, and design phases executed utilizing 3D visualizations and virtual reality. The team will share lessons from evaluating the design in response to COVID-19 and how both floors are prepared to adapt existing resources for unknown future capacity demands.


1. Understand constraints and solutions to transform existing outpatient clinic floors with atypical square footage ratios and infrastructure system restraints into an inpatient care unit focused on efficient operations and adaptable for future patient populations.
2. Learn how to conduct post occupancy evaluations of generations of existing bed units to efficiently collect and analyze user input before user group meetings convene.
3. Analyze and leverage research, POEs, and benchmarking data for functional and operational planning comparisons during the project programming and design phase.
4. Determine the best communication methods foster quick decision making in both the physical and virtual collaboration environments: 3D simulations, virtual reality, and operational scenarios.