The new wing of the HealthAlliance Hospital’s Mary’s Avenue campus in Kingston should open in about 45 days, WMC CEO Michael D. Israel said at a press conference this Tuesday morning at the new two-story, 79,000-square-foot building adjoining the existing formerly Benedictine Hospital facility.
Lots of glass and glitter in the reception area. Suits wearing tags with their names on them gathered in a scrum. Photographers darting around their periphery. It has stopped raining outside.
The new facility will include 175 beds, an emergency care center, an intensive care unit, a medical stepdown unit, a birthing center, a new imaging department, and remodeled centers for ambulatory surgery, infusion therapy and endoscopy.
The evolution of the imaging department was the immediate cause for the press conference. Israel said that WMC Health’s original partnership with Royal Philips, a manufacturer of health technology, was for five hundred million dollars over 15 years. It is now $750 million over 15 years.
Philips, which describes itself as “an innovation company,” expanded the services provided by its medical imaging machines to the environments in which they were operated at the WMC hospitals. Many people, it seems, are discomfited by having to lie down while being slowly transported into a tunnel-like atmosphere where they are instructed to hold their breaths.
The collaboration is aimed to redefine how WMC Health delivers care. The Philips Ambient Experience was designed “to create a calm and engaging experience to patients” by means of design, dynamic lighting, video projections and sound.
The result has to be seen to be believed.
“I just love it,” said technician Kelsey Shavers in the control room, where she can manipulate sounds and sights to patients wearing goggles and earphones. The amount of light can be controlled, and a panoply of colors are at her or the patient’s disposal. A selection of sceneries are available for her or the patient to choose among. Can movies or football games be far behind?
The corners of the walls in the space are rounded. That has a calming effect, apparently. All that calm reduces the average time of imaging by 50 percent, said a Philips executive. More precise diagnosis, more efficient monitoring, more patient comfort.
Israel makes the point that healthcare has to be local. There should be less need for travel. Kingston will have the same imaging equipment as Poughkeepsie and Valhalla.