The HCD 10 Outstanding Organization

Advocate Health Care, Chicago

Mission statement: “The mission of Advocate Health Care is to serve the health needs of individuals, families, and communities through a holistic philosophy rooted in our fundamental understanding of human beings as created in the image of God.”

About the organization: Advocate is the largest health system in Illinois and one of the largest accountable care organizations in the country, operating nearly 400 care sites and 12 hospitals.  Advocate is part of Advocate Aurora Health, the 10th largest not-for-profit, integrated health system in the United States. Striving to set a benchmark for providing world-class care and environmental stewardship, the organization is also challenging the status quo of healthcare design and construction. Through its Design & Construction Partner Program, Advocate works with preferred architecture, engineering, construction management, and trade partners to establish the expectation that all projects will deliver higher value, create safer environments, and utilize Lean processes throughout. Advocate has committed to employing integrated project delivery (IPD) for all future projects with estimated costs of more than $10 million.

Year in review: Advocate’s innovations in design and construction are illustrated in its recent projects. The Advocate Christ Medical Center – East Tower, Phase 2 of which opened in September 2017,  in Oak Lawn, Ill., completes a project that not only increases ICU capacity and consolidates birthing and neonatal care but also creates a bold front door for the hospital. Additionally, a three-story vertical expansion at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital, opened in spring 2017 in Downers Grove, Ill., was constructed atop the current ICU and is the final step in Good Samaritan’s campus-wide initiative to convert all inpatient unit beds to private rooms. On both projects, the use of IPD and modular solutions yielded plenty of efficiencies, too. For example, on the East Tower, the decision to prefabricate 91 bathroom units eliminated 10 weeks of construction time, translating to a 10 percent savings in the overall project schedule and a 67 percent reduction in truck deliveries related to patient bathrooms. On the Good Samaritan addition,

89 prefabricated patient room components were developed, expediting the construction process and helping to ensure completion within just 14 months.

Advocate is also pursuing LEED for Healthcare certification on all new major buildings (the East Tower earned Gold; the Good Samaritan project earned Silver) and has developed a new tool—the Healthy Spaces Roadmap—to ensure sustainability in all renovations and projects throughout the system. The design of Advocate’s latest facilities also demonstrates its commitment to value-based care and an emphasis on experience, with a focus on the patient journey and supporting families becoming a standard for existing patient units as the system works to upgrade all of its towers. Finally, as part of its dedication to making Advocate hospitals and medical centers preferred places to work, learn, and heal, the organization is in the process of building simulation centers at each of its acute care sites—this year bringing the total to six.

Industry impact: As a testament to Advocate’s commitment to Lean methodology and the use of prefabrication and modular design, all construction projects for the past five years have been delivered at or below the budgets developed at the planning stage, without suffering mid-project cuts to scope. Those accomplishments also didn’t come at the cost of other critical elements, as the system continues to focus on solutions that improve both the patient and staff experience. Consequently, Advocate’s innovations are setting a valuable example for other organizations and their project teams to follow.

What’s next: As part of Advocate’s strategic plan to improve patient safety and achieve zero events of preventable patient harm by 2020, simulation centers will continue to be developed—right now, three are in design or construction. A hallmark of these projects is a focus on teamwork, communication, and clinical judgment so physicians can continually learn and train.