Meet the docs designing VGH’s OR expansion

Since February’s announcement of the VGH OR Renewal Project, teams have been assembled, experts engaged and design consultations with physicians and staff are well underway.

The $102-million project jointly funded by VCH, VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation and the BC government will expand the VGH OR suite to the third floor of Jim Pattison Pavilion (JPP) North, directly above the current OR suite.

Scheduled to open in early 2021, the new OR suite will include 16 state-of-the-art universal operating rooms (ORs), a 40-bed consolidated pre- and post-operative unit, upgraded infrastructure and much more. A new elevator between JPP 2 and 3 will be added to optimize patient flow.

At the heart of this project you’ll find our clinical leads. Core members of the Project Team, these four physicians play key roles in design discussions, working alongside John Filer, clinical project manager, nurses and other perioperative staff, and numerous experts.

So far the design process has been inclusive, in-depth and indisputably exciting. VCH Med Staff News asked the project’s clinical leads why and more.

Why is serving as a clinical lead important to you?

Dr. Oliver Applegarth: “As someone who enjoys new challenges, this project allows me to tap into my creative side (as much as I have one), and gets me working in a dynamic team environment. VGH, and everyone I work with, has given so much to me as a person over the years and this project represents one avenue for me to give back.”

Dr. Peter Gooderham: “I believe that while it’s easier to find fault, it’s more productive to do the heavy lifting and help make things better for our patients and for ourselves. I expect to have a long career at VGH, and I feel I have a responsibility to take an active role and be part of the solution for our future.”

Dr. Rael Klein: “Serving as a clinical lead for the VGH OR Renewal Project is an excellent opportunity to be involved in a project that will markedly improve our work environment, patient access and, as result, patient outcomes.”

Dr. Kelly Lefaivre: “VGH has a world-class surgical program, and I’m excited to help shape its future. I think we need to build to meet present needs and for the future — surgery is always getting more complex, and equipment is always evolving.”

From your experience or travels, which OR features should we consider for VGH?

Dr. Rael Klein: “Improved integration of technology and better utilization of our space for improved flow.”

Dr. Peter Gooderham: “It’s not about the ‘sexy’ things, but rather building the right framework — universal ORs — and improving workflow in and around the OR for better patient and staff flow.”

How would you describe your experience so far?

Dr. Oliver Applegarth: “I’m amazed by the degree of organization and focus that the team demonstrates. As a clinician at the table, those we represent would appreciate the degree to which universal stakeholder involvement is given top priority, ensuring that all people who may use this new space feel engaged, and their opinions respected.”

Dr. Kelly Lefaivre: “It’s been a great learning experience to see the knowledge base that all of the different members of the team bring. As a singular clinician, you rarely get to see the scope of what happens behind the scenes to make a facility like this run.”

What do you want your OR colleagues to know about the project?

Dr. Oliver Applegarth: “The team’s focus is to create a cutting-edge workspace that accommodates everyone’s needs. My hope is that what we create is not only state-of-the-art but also the envy of others and recognized as the benchmark design for other OR builds.”

Dr. Kelly Lefaivre: “We’re going to build a modern, efficient and truly universal set of ORs that will work for everyone.”

Dr. Rael Klein: “We’re developing a design that will suit all parties and improve patient access in the long run.”

Dr. Peter Gooderham: “I’ve been impressed by how much every service has put in the effort to participate and consult with us on design. We’ll repay that effort by making sure that the build will work everyone and especially for our patients.”

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