Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend—
Focus on Patient Safety

Patient safety and quality outcomes were a central focus in the design of RiverBend. When re-designing more than 500 total clinical processes, teams (many of which included former patients as panel members) took apart each step and asked the following questions:

Could a patient be harmed here? If so, what is the potential harm and how can we re-design the process to reduce the chance of making an error that could harm a patient?

When designing the hospital with patient safety in mind, our cornerstone of promoting quality outcomes was clear: private rooms. We have private rooms throughout the hospital, from the Emergency Department to the rooms that house our smallest patients, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

In a private room, patients are more likely to share sensitive health information with providers to ensure the proper care of that patient. Plus, research tells us that environments that are noisy and distracting tend to increase errors by clinicians, which is why we have designed spaces that allow teams to come together in a less hectic, private environment.

To reduce distractions as medications are dispensed, nurses do not have to leave the patient room to prepare the medication. Instead, the medications are delivered and stored inside the private patient rooms in a locked drawer. This way, nurses have a computer with the patient's electronic medical record, the medication (in the locked drawer), and the patient all in one place.  

In addition, our private patient rooms are built to be predictable environments that are all similar to prevent medical errors. In fact, we built a “RiverBend room” at the original Sacred Heart Medical Center location and worked in that room along with two sample ICU rooms for more than 2 years to determine what worked well and what should change at RiverBend.

Finally, studies show private rooms tend to prevent spread of infection, a key goal of every medical center. What’s more, research indicates that patients prefer private rooms and our design clearly focuses on the needs of our patients.