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April 26, 2014 - St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Hospital South Tower Open House

St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Hospital in Pontiac held the open house for their new South Patient Tower on April 26, 2014, and Detroit Metro Mashup went to check it out. Walking into the New South Patient Tower, we spotted the floral glass art work on the south wall and immediately knew it was April Wagner’s work. It is a beautiful greeting as one enters the new main entrance, along with the work of many other local artists who grace the facility.

The entire new lobby area was filled with greeters and guides for the tour, tables of fantastic foods, and crowds of interested attendees. On stage was a trio playing light jazz that included our old friend and renowned Detroit area keyboard player, Chris Codish.

The tour was on the 7th floor, so we headed directly for the elevators to check it out. The facility is about 300,000 square feet and has 300 square feet per patient room. There are 204 private rooms in the tower alone and each room is organized into a patient area, caregiver area, and family/friends area in a manner that should optimize the work needing to be done there. This is accomplished while giving the rooms the overall feel of a really nice hotel stay. If an overnight stay is needed for a family member, the couch turns into a bed at the touch of a button. The flat-screen TVs provide an interactive system for patients to access while also allowing web surfing and offering a variety of movies. They even flash the name of the nurse or other caregiver when the room is entered so the patient knows who is there.

The rooms are disinfected, as usual, between patient occupancies but, in addition, they are disinfected by being flooded with high-intensity ultraviolet wavelength light from a robot that uses a xenon light-emitting source. We saw the Xenex Saturn robot during the tour. Currently these cost about $100,000 apiece, but the price is expected to come down as the technology takes hold and more of them are sold. This seems to be an excellent way to destroy the resistant strains of bacteria are difficult to eliminate by other methods. Further adding to the elimination of bacteria and viruses are the hand sanitizes in every room. As the caregiver enters the room their badge is scanned and the sanitizer “credits” them for using it when they do. This is supposed to be done every time the caregiver visits.

Part of the “Intelligent Care System” is the VISL Mobile patient monitoring system that monitors blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory system, pule and skin temperature. This is so comprehensive a monitoring that the patient does not need to be awakened during the night to check vitals. If I recall correctly, this is only the second hospital in the nation that has gone live with this technology, which allows the caregiver to monitor everything on their iPhones as well as on the nurse station monitors. Everything about the rooms and the monitoring approaches cater to the patients’ healing process. The staff gives kudos to their IT guy, Robert Jones, who had the enthusiasm and know-how to bring this all together. All of this goes live in the new South Tower on May 5, with the rest of the hospital following in September.

This is an amazing facility and should make a great contribution to the health and wellness of the SE Michigan area. We’re certainly glad it is nearby if any of us become ill!

St. Joseph Mercy Oakland (main campus)
44405 Woodward Avenue
Pontiac, MI 48341
Phone (Main Campus): (248) 858-3000