New plans for pediatric Cardiac Diagnostic Centre aim to increase efficiency and centralize services

For the average patient and family, a visit to the current Cardiology department at The Montreal Children’s Hospital (MCH) can be like navigating an oversized labyrinth, involving multiple floors and corridors.
It might be the current reality, but the plans for the new Cardiac Diagnostic Centre at the Glen Campus, developed in collaboration with Dr. Adrian Dancea, Director of the Pediatric Cardiology Division at the MCH, aim to reduce the need for patients to move around so much and to increase efficiency for staff.
“We are a department that is heavily reliant upon technology, with many of our patients requiring electrocardiograms (ECG), echocardiograms (ECHO) and cardiac stress tests, so the idea for this space was to centralize everything, offering a variety of services in one place,” Dr. Dancea explains.
Located on the first floor of the new hospital’s B block, the space will drastically reduce the need for patients and staff to make numerous treks throughout the building by grouping similar diagnostic services in the same area. These will include five ECHO labs, two ECG labs, five consultation rooms, a multi-purpose room that can be used for pacemaker interrogations or stress tests, a conference room for team meetings, and a waiting area that will separate pediatric patients from expectant mothers coming in for fetal cardiac consultations.
What’s more, the new Centre’s proximity to the public entrance of the hospital and the pediatric atrium will be more clearly identifiable to outpatients, while its vertical adjacency to the cardiac catheterization lab, located two floors above and next to the operating rooms, will provide easy access to inpatients visiting the centre for diagnostic tests.
Designing a space that will not only be centralized for patients and families, but be functional for staff has been no small task, says Dr. Dancea, but it has offered great opportunities to increase efficiencies and eliminate waste.
The Cardiology division was recently chosen to undergo a pilot project with the Transition Office called the Lean Process, a well-known and respected management philosophy first used by Toyota in the 1980s, and more recently adopted by North American businesses and industries in various sectors, including health care and government.
“This process focused on how we could simplify work processes as much as possible and look for ways in which we could make gains in efficiency and quality,” explains Dr. Dancea. The results have inspired the current design, and have helped ensure that everything will be constructed in the appropriate place.
With the architectural plans in place, the next step will involve designing the finishes of the space and deciding on the details of each individual room within the centre, says Dr. Dancea, who is most looking forward to working in a modern, more pleasing environment.
“Certainly the new facilities will allow us to have closer contact with our adult care colleagues, which will be beneficial. It will help us integrate our efforts in teaching and research and help us create a uniform approach to the transition of patients, which is part of our overarching vision for the future.”