University of Chicago Comer Labor and Delivery 

Berglund Construction recently completed the build-out of the new labor and delivery floor at Comer Children’s Hospital at the University of Chicago Medicine. The project has moved the University of Chicago’s Hospital Labor and Delivery Unit from the Mitchell Hospital to Comer Children’s Hospital. The change allows the University of Chicago to provide new mothers with a modern, state-of-the-art facility and immediate access to Comer’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. The new unit has nine labor / delivery / recovery rooms, five triangle rooms, two operating rooms (C-section suites) and five antepartum rooms – all on the third floor of Comer Children’s Hospital.

Throughout the project, we partnered with the University of Chicago Medicine Labor and Delivery doctors and nurses in a process known as “The Kaizen Method.” Made famous by Toyota and other manufacturers, this method has become popular in the healthcare industry for hospitals aiming to reduce waste and increase value for patients through continuous small improvements.

Using this method, our experienced healthcare team worked with the hospital’s doctors and nurses to achieve three goals at the outset of the project:

1. Design services, processes and facility layouts that better meet patient and caregiver needs       with improved safety, quality and delivery while lowering costs.

2. Rapidly generate ideas with input from all hospital stakeholders for the layout of key hospital areas.

3. Prioritize and rank the outcomes of the stakeholder idea sessions.

These collaborative conversations centered around what the Kaizen Method refers to as the seven flows that occur throughout a hospital:

1.     Flow of patients

2.     Flow of clinicians

3.     Flow of medications

4.     Flow of supplies

5.     Flow of equipment

6.     Flow of information

7.     Flow of process

While considering these flows, the hospital stakeholders were forced to consider and correct the inefficiencies that may arise in their new space before it was built.  The stakeholders also participated in Gemba Walks – close observations of work being done – to further improve the new space, and we constructed mockups to allow future users to interact with their new layouts before installation. These efforts resulted in the most effective hospital for the patients, doctors and nurses at the Comer Labor and Delivery Unit.