Knowing that the medicine of tomorrow cannot be practiced in the settings of yesterday, Hadassah embarked on the daunting task of preparing for the future. After careful exploration and examination of the Medical Center’s current facilities, it became clear that Hadassah needed a new, totally different inpatient facility to match its first-rate health care team.

Dozens of Hadassah’s physicians, nurses, and medical managers worked closely with the architects to design the new Sarah Wetsman Davidson Tower. “Sometimes the architects guided us, but sometimes we led,” explains Prof. Yaakov Naparstek, Chair of the Hadassah Medical Center’s Department of Medicine and head of the Strategic Planning Committee. Prof. Naparstek cites the example of deciding the number of beds per patient room. While many modern hospitals have mainly single-bed rooms, he says, “we know our customers and Israelis tend to enjoy company, even when they’re sick!” Consequently, the decision was to mix one- and two-bed rooms throughout the new Tower. The beds in double rooms will be placed on diagonal corners, to provide privacy and to reduce transmission of drug-resistant organisms that are responsible for hospital-acquired infections. In addition, all 500 inpatient beds will be near windows and each patient will have space in his “zone” for his family members and caregivers. In this way, the patient’s personal support system can more easily participate in his healing. Relatives and friends can facilitate communication between doctor and patient and receive direct information about the patient’s status.

All patient rooms will be equipped for procedures such as endoscopy, bronchoscopy, and dialysis, so patients will no longer have to be taken out of their rooms for these tests and treatment. In addition, the patient’s file will be connected through a wireless system to the central nurses’ station.

Another innovation is that “step-down” (intermediate-care) units will be placed in the center of each inpatient area. This will allow for close observation from the nursing station and enable physicians working throughout the department to more easily visit patients

The Surgical Suites

The new Sarah Wetsman Davidson Tower will provide our top-notch surgeons with the physical environment to match their state-of-the-art skills. There will be fully integrated surgical suites, equipped for every type of operation–from traditional surgery to minimally invasive procedures, to computer-navigated surgery, and surgical robotics–as well as telemedicine, video teleconferencing, and electronic data retrieval. Everything will be orchestrated with the flexibility to add new procedures that the future will bring, explains Prof. Avi Rivkind, head of Surgery at Hadassah.

Dr. Yoav Mintz, Senior Surgeon and head of Robotic-Assisted Surgery, notes: “I’m looking ahead to when the facility opens and I’ll perform surgery in the new building, with a display of each patient’s CT scans, x-rays, ultrasound scan, lab results, and all other documents from the file on a monitor in front of me. And I’ll work knowing that the surgery I perform is being recorded and added to that file.”

As Prof. Charles Weissman, head of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, says, “We’re building not only for today but for the next 50 years.”

Although Hadassah’s operating facility will draw on all the new possibilities that technology provides, Prof. Rivkind brings out, it is designed to be patient-oriented. “We’ve stressed comfort and easy connection between surgeons and patients,” he explains.

Prof. Weissman elaborates: “Heavy emphasis was given to creating a smooth patient flow. A well-functioning pre-op area will allow doctors to prepare patients for anesthesia and improve upon efficient use of the operating room (OR). Well-designed post-op care areas will cater to patients who need intensive and intermediate care following major surgery.”

Another characteristic of the ORs of the future is imaging in surgery, dubbed “imergery” or “hybrid surgery.” Traditionally, Prof. Weissman explains, imaging is done earlier in a separate unit and then surgeons use the information during an operation. Increasingly, however, sophisticated imaging and computer-assisted surgery have been essential components of the OR.  Therefore, some of the Tower’s operating rooms will be equipped with Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Computerized Tomography (CT) and diagnostic angiography, which will enable the surgeons to see deeper into a patient as they operate. One potential plan is to place MRI scanners (which weigh six tons!) on rails so that they can be moved from one operating room to another.

The Intensive Care Units

Each bed in the Tower’s Intensive Care Units will be in its own room. Prof. Weissman explains that “it’s better for infection control (a bugbear of all ICUs); patients and their families prefer the privacy; and staff find it easier.” The tiniest details have been pondered over in the building of the Tower, he adds. “Everything we decide will have its impact on the experience of patients and staff. That’s what has made it both so exciting and such a heavy responsibility.”

As Hadassah Tower Building Chair Bonnie Lipton expresses: “The Tower is a member of the medical team because the beauty of its structure will play a big role in the healing process.”