How to Make a Hospital Department Relocation More Successful – Part 2

transition planning for hospital department relocation

April 13, 2015  |  Dianne Foster

In Part 1 of this series, we discuss the scope, benefits, and different types of hospital transition planning. Today in Part 2, we cover the elements of a successful transition and different ways to distribute the workload.

What does a successful transition plan entail?
A customized playbook provides the leader with detailed work plans and action lists. The playbook navigates strategic and tactical steps to ensure:

  • The team mitigates disruptions and risks,
  • Cross-functional teams test and develop processes,
  • The environment meets regulatory requirements immediately upon occupancy,
  • Staff are ready to work in their new environment with new processes, and,
  • Patients, family, and staff migrate with ease.

The playbook includes assessment tools, templates, checklists, and timelines for essential tasks. It guides a series of discrete stakeholder steps and offers tips for navigating the decisions of each phase. The playbook outlines common transition traps and failures along with strategies for sidestepping them. It has a technical glossary to aid in conversations with contractors, architects, and engineers. The playbook helps one balance stability with change, and the wide-view perspective with details.

hospital transiton planning playbook

How do you measure the success of a transition?
As a baseline, successful transitions prevent what must never occur – before, during, or after the move. For example:

  • Life saving supplies and equipment are always available in the event of a patient emergency, or,
  • Testing and mock drills guarantee the effectiveness of emergency preparedness measures for unplanned disasters.

Successful transitions eliminate rather than minimize risk.

Next, successful transitions incorporate what matters to staff, patients, families, and the community. To families, success may mean finding the way from points A to B. To staff, success may mean comfort with the work environment on Move Day.

To achieve many visions of success, workshops establish desired outcomes and define correct actions. Once formalized, these serve as a yardstick against which to measure progress. Performance indicators benchmark patient care processes to maintain operational sustainability and positive clinical outcomes.

Transition Approaches
When leaders face an upcoming transition, there are three ways to distribute the workload.

Do-It-Yourself Approach
As with all DIY projects, you can save money by investing “sweat equity” and your own time. While one must measure the opportunity cost of investing their time in a transition effort, sometimes it can make sense.

pros and cons of DIY Hospital transition planning

When circumstances impose transition leadership upon overburdened department leaders, outside help may be appropriate. Initial planning sessions with a transition consultant may benefit the DIY transition leader. They offer guidance, tools to chart the course, or self-assessments to determine if a DIY approach is suitable.

Hospital-Employed Project Manager
For renovation projects lasting more than a year, hospitals may hire an in-house project manager. This individual coordinates between the construction team, the department head, and the ancillary departments.

Pros and cons of hospital project manager transition planning

Hospital-employed project managers can reduce some of the burden on department leaders, but one must weigh the cost of retaining this individual against their level of expertise.

Transition Consultant
A transition consultant customizes an approach to the unique facility needs, environment, and team.

Pros and cons of hiring a hospital transition consultant

Completion of construction is not the “end game.” While organizational readiness is critical to a smooth go-live transition, it’s not the end of the race either.

Moving into a new space is a beginning of continuous improvement. It is important to get it right since it sets the tone for the future. As healthcare shifts to value-based purchasing, transition planning becomes the starting point for sustained efficacy far beyond Move Day. In today’s healthcare world, there is no finish line.

Dianne L. Foster RN BSN MBA
Dianne Foster hospital transition planningAsk Dianne about transition planning: dianne@freemanwhite.com

As the leader of 10+ major hospital transitions, Dianne’s success stems from the viewpoint that prioritizing (not bewailing) planning creates better operational outcomes. Dianne has three-plus decades of clinical and leadership experience in 90-600+ bed hospitals. Her expertise in complex hospital operations, patient care environments, and cultivating relationships helps hospitals surpass the status quo.

Click here to download a PDF of the guide to transition planning.

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