Bayhealth’s decision to build a new hospital on a 165-acre site off Route 1 in Milford solved a problem. The original hospital, built in 1938, was landlocked in downtown Milford. Meanwhile, the area’s population is exploding.
Milford straddles both Kent and Sussex counties, which are undergoing growth spurts. Between 2010 and 2016,
Kent County’s population grew 7.7 percent while Sussex County’s population rose 11.7 percent. Attracted by low taxes and new construction, many newcomers are retirees. In Sussex County, 25.8 percent of the population is over 65. It’s a demographic with high health care demands.
But the decision to build a new structure was about more than an accessible location. “We’re totally redesigning how we do health care,” says Terry Murphy, president and CEO of Bayhealth, which was created in 1997 by the merger of Milford Memorial and Kent General hospitals.
The $314 million project also gives Bayhealth a clean slate, Murphy says.
To improve the patient’s experience and be more efficient, Bayhealth practiced Lean-Led Design, which defines and develops waste-free operational processes to create the best possible experience for the patients.
Clinicians, front-line staff and end-users all had a say in the design. The multidisciplinary teams mapped their daily workflow and discussed how even routine tasks impact the patients. Each department looked for ways to reduce wasted time, space and energy.
This approach was also used by Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, which will occupy the first floor of a professional building on the same campus.
This is not the first time Bayhealth has practiced Lean-Led Design. The strategy helped guide the $168 million campus expansion of its Dover hospital. The four-story patient tower can extend to 10 floors. “We planned ahead,” Murphy says.
That’s also true for the Bayhealth Sussex Campus, which will initially have 128 single-patient rooms. There’s shell space for more if needed. All the rooms will have an identical layout. Materials and equipment will be in the same area in each.
Murphy, who previously worked in Florida, says Delaware’s health care systems are good collaborators. “They’ve done a phenomenal job of providing value, reducing cost and improving quality,” he says. “Florida was very competitive.”
He points to eBrightHealth, an accountable care organization founded by Bayhealth, Christiana Care Health System and Nanticoke Health Services in 2016. Beebe Healthcare and Atlantic General Hospital and Health System joined in 2017.
Bayhealth also participates in Carelink CareNow, founded by Christiana Care to help at-risk populations stay healthy.
The collaboration, he says, is refreshing. “It allows us to accomplish some phenomenal things in health care.”