On Sunday, April 5th, I attended a special community preview of the new Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. The community day was an opportunity for community members to visit the hospital’s new site in Lawrenceville and learn about some of the changes that will make Children’s more patient- and family-friendly.

Green practices, technology, and design play a big role in making the new hospital more inviting. Bright colors and animal themes are used to differentiate wards and floors. Patient rooms are designed to look and feel like a child’s bedroom and provide ample space for visitors, as well as areas where parents can rest. Glass-walled playrooms allow patients to remain connected to the rest of the hospital, even if they have to remain secluded from visitors. The center of this new family focus is a huge multi-purpose atrium with a descending movie screen and an adjacent garden pavilion that offers views of Lawrenceville and Oakland, which is also connected to a 20,000 square foot family resource center. Administrative buildings, doctors’ offices and parking garages will also be a part of the new campus.

In addition to its thoughtful design plan and use of space, I was really impressed with the many ways that technology was integrated into the new hospital facility. There are several  technology features that will significantly improve the patient experience for both children and caregivers, including: game consoles where kids can play while waiting to be seen by their doctors, TV monitors in waiting areas that update parents on their children’s status while in surgery (and are refreshed every 30 seconds), digital signage at each elevator, and fully digitized medical records. Wireless internet access is available throughout the building. And, of course, Children’s will be employing the most state-of-the-art technology in their medical services to ensure the highest quality of care.

The new Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh opens on May 2, 2009.

For more information, check out the Children’s Hospital’s website.