Building the "hospital of the future" meant forgoing building processes of the past.
So found Palomar Pomerado Health when it set out to build a third district hospital and make improvements to its existing medical facilities.
Expected to cost $691 million, the new Palomar Medical Center West in Escondido will account for a large piece of the health care district's $1 billion expansion plans, which also call for renovating Palomar Medical Center, doubling the size of Pomerado Hospital in Poway and adding several satellite medical centers in Ramona, Rancho Peñasquitos, San Marcos and Valley Center.
Funding for the projects will come primarily from a $496 million bond measure approved by voters in 2004.
The health care district joined a pilot program earlier this year intended to advance its building approval process to complete in six to eight months the kind of work that would normally take two years.
If successful, hospitals nationwide could follow its lead.
"If you can identify what your risks are in the process you're obviously going to get better pricing, which is better for everyone," said Michael Shanahan, the health care district's lead architect.
Hospital plans are currently undergoing review by a local advisory committee made up of architects, designers and a retired nurse, among others.
"Right now, we've committed to incremental and segmented reviews," Shanahan said. "That's going really well."
PPH originally expected a 12- to 18-month design review process at the state level, but Shanahan said it could be sooner.
By the time the 456-bed Escondido hospital opens in early 2011, it will replace Palomar Medical Center and become the area's only trauma center.
Architectural plans call for energy efficient and cost-saving design methods such as automated lighting systems, more efficient cooling and landscaped rooftops that deflect sunlight.
Acuity adaptable rooms, designed to reduce the need to move patients from room to room, will be built to accommodate various stages of patient care.
"They're moving people all over the place and every time you do you get a new nurse, a new care center," Shanahan said. "We bring the care team to you as you get better in the meantime."
At Pomerado Hospital in Poway, builders completed a 172,000-square-foot, five-story outpatient services pavilion in May.
The pavilion is the first of a two-part process that will expand the hospital and double its number of beds by 2010.
Shanahan said the district anticipates opening a comprehensive outpatient women's center in November, advanced imaging by January or February and outpatient surgery sometime next year.
"You're going to see two hospitals coming out of the ground pretty similar in timing," Shanahan said.
Plans to convert a church into medical offices off Black Mountain Road and State Route 56 in Rancho Peñasquitos are undergoing city review. The district purchased land in Ramona off Main Street for its other satellite center and is in the process of planning its offices.
Satellite centers in San Marcos and Valley center will follow, Shanahan said, once the hospital has enough time and resources to proceed.
The satellite centers will offer a variety of outpatient services either through PPH or partnerships with existing providers.