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CCPPP panel ponders COVID hospital responses and future pandemic plans

Warren Frey
CCPPP panel ponders COVID hospital responses and future pandemic plans

Four hospital procurement experts shared their experiences at the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships virtual session titled, What Comes Next: How Will Canada’s Hospitals Adapt and Innovate after COVID-19?

The panel consisted of William Osler Health System executive vice-president Ann Ford, Plan Group executive vice-president Glen Landry and Johnson Controls business director for performance-based infrastructure — P3 Jean-Michel Read. The panel was moderated by Plenary Group head of asset delivery for social infrastructure Albert Iwasaki.

All of the panel participants agreed hospitals and other medical facilities faced unprecedented challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic and were required to adapt in ways they couldn’t have anticipated.

“We can all agree the pandemic has changed how we all use and view medical facilities and has also affected how we look at built space,” Ford said.

Issues ranged from figuring outflow of staff and patients throughout buildings to finding administrative space for vaccination centres.

“Just with PPE requirements alone, we had lots coming in the door and didn’t have storage space for it, so we stored PPE in the halls and the parking lot,” she added.

Read noted in some facilities areas were shut down as staff concentrated on COVID-19 patients but doing so resulted in more work for maintenance staff as toilets weren’t flushed and sliding doors fell into disuse.

Landry said working on new hospital projects during the pandemic also presented challenges.

“Material costs were out of control and manufacturing delays we an unfortunate part of all this, sometimes up to 10 months and shipping costs rose up to 500 per cent,” Landry said.

“On a positive note, we have been able to get through it and turn over world class smart hospitals as part of our contracts and I’m quite excited about that.”

Landry said Canadians have much to be proud of going forward in terms of public health infrastructure.

“Canadians are a funny people. We’re way too modest. With the innovations in smart hospitals, we’re 15 years ahead of European hospitals,” he said.

He noted this push for innovation began with the SARS pandemic and now “we’re leading the world in automating clinical plans for better journeys for patients.”

He pointed to a Newfoundland hospital project where leveraging 3D models and mixed-reality lenses were used to allow designers and others in Toronto to “tour” the building and its infrastructure.

“Both the field and the Toronto office can interact in collaborative ways on the hospital build. We have real time building progress and it’s a vehicle we wouldn’t have otherwise because of distance,” Landry said.

The next evolution in technology and health care, he said, is “extension of all automated processes in hospitals and extending that into the homes they serve.”

Ford added BIM and REVIT have long-term benefits for those who will have to adapt to future crises.

“BIM and REVIT are incredibly helpful over time because even 30 years later when we’re out of the project, someone’s going to need that information,” she said.


Follow the author on Twitter @JOCFrey.

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