By Heather Fuhrman

A collage showing a nurse and technician using advanced healthcare construction technology in an emergency room, a state-of-the-art hospital building illuminated at night, and a modern emergency check-in area designed for efficient patient processing.

In the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare, the integration of new tools and technologies holds immense promise for improving patient care, enhancing efficiency, and driving innovation. According to Becker’s Hospital Review, 96% of all non-federal acute care hospitals and nearly 4 in 5 office-based physicians have implemented a certified EHR (Electronic Health Records) system. A 2023 poll conducted by Medical Group Management Association revealed 80% of medical group leaders believe using AI will be essential or that it already is (3%). However, the successful implementation of these technology advancements heavily relies on two crucial factors: the proper training of healthcare staff and the expectations set by leadership.

Introducing Technology in Existing Structures

During a recent AMFP panel discussion, Pamela Basch, HKS Principal and Senior Project Manager, emphasized the significance of introducing new technology within existing healthcare facilities before deploying them on new, larger projects. This approach ensures that staff members are familiarized with the tools in a real-world setting, allowing for smoother transitions and minimizing disruptions in patient care.

Assessing Technology Needs

Cumming Group recently supported St. Charles Health System with the replacement of their aging imaging equipment and introduced new technologies to enhance healthcare services in Central Oregon (read more here). Our team worked with the client, design team, and imaging vendors to assess their current equipment and technology. We then assisted those teams to identify areas where new technology could improve efficiency, patient care, and outcomes. A critical part of our strategy also involved engaging key stakeholders, including hospital administrators, clinicians, IT staff, and end-users to research and evaluate different technologies available in the market.

The Indispensable Role of Leadership

Jonathan Cogswell, Vice President of Northwell Health, highlighted the indispensable role of leadership in the adoption of new tools during the AMFP panel discussion, pointing out the need for clear expectations from the beginning of a project. Our team at Cumming Group witnessed this firsthand while supporting Vail Health with the replacement of their aging emergency and imaging departments. The management team fostered a culture of innovation, encouraged staff buy-in, and provided the necessary support for successful implementation of new technology in multiple expansions on their main campus and throughout their satellite campuses (read more about the project here). The Cumming Group team also backed new initiatives by supporting research, evaluating vendors, and coordinating support within the purchasing groups. This helped the Vail Health IT teams build confidence in decision-making and implementation across the organization.

Maximizing Your Technology Investment

Ultimately, the successful integration of new tools and technologies in healthcare hinges on the effective training of staff members and clear standards established by leadership. By investing in comprehensive training programs and fostering a culture of continuous improvement, healthcare organizations can maximize the benefits of innovation while ensuring high-quality patient care.

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About the Author

Heather I. Fuhrman is an accomplished design and construction project executive, adept at managing projects from concept to final delivery and closeout. With a proactive problem-solving approach, she emphasizes developing innovative solutions to complex project challenges. Heather has a diverse portfolio spanning various sectors, including mid-rise commercial and retail buildings, healthcare, assisted living facilities, higher education, hospitality, food and beverage, and transportation infrastructure.

At Cumming Group, Heather collaborates closely with clients on ground-up developments and interior fit-outs. Her expertise and knowledge as a designer and builder in New York uniquely position her to provide valuable insights on complex projects.