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Innovation Supports Care at New Kaiser Permanente Redwood City Hospital

  • Floor to ceiling windows bring in light and nature.
  • A multi-colored light wall brightens the Emergency Department lobby.
  • Open desk areas down the middle of the Emergency Department provide staff members with uncluttered line of sight to patients.
  • A CT scanner is state of the art and environmentally friendly; it eliminates the need for both thousands of pounds of chemical waste and thousands of gallons of water.
  • Patient rooms boast sleeper sofas to enable friends or family to stay overnight. Note the heavy beam—both seismic retrofitting and bold design—in one of the rooms.
  • Hospital lounges on each floor are comfortably and colorfully furnished.
  • Private bathrooms make good use of glass and decorative tile to give patients a first-class experience.
  • Private rooms provide the best in both technology and comfort, from online access to information on providers and procedures to remote controlled lights and shades.
  • Even the stairwell boasts glass and light—as an inducement for visitors and staff members to walk rather than take the elevator.

Photos by Bill Horton

At the newest hospital, neurological care gets a specially designed floor all its own.

By Lynn Mundell

Technology, green thinking, and the local community combined are central to the new Kaiser Permanente Redwood City Hospital, the last in a set of new Northern California facilities that opened this year.

The seven-story hospital located at Veterans Boulevard and Walnut Street opened the morning of Tuesday, Dec. 16, replacing the original hospital built in 1968—now referred to as “The Tower”—which is next door and will now be used for outpatient visits.

“We’re now in a position to offer our community and Kaiser Permanente members a new home for our high-quality, safe, and affordable health care. This is a moment of pride for our team of caregivers,” said Frank Beirne, the hospital’s senior vice president and area manager, of the hospital opening.

“The opening has been a long time coming, and I’m really excited that we’re moving in,” added Jim O’Donnell, MD, pediatrician and the physician-in-chief of the medical center.

The Redwood City Hospital opening followed the Oakland Specialty Medical Office Building on Jan. 6, the San Leandro Medical Offices on April 7, the San Leandro Hospital on June 3, and, most recently, the Oakland Hospital on July 1. The buildings all meet the state’s new, stricter seismic-safety standards that go into effect on Jan. 1.

“Our new Redwood City hospital is the culmination of a $2-billion commitment by Kaiser Permanente to our members and the communities we serve,” said Gregory A. Adams, group president and regional president of Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Health Plan, Inc., in Northern California. “We are an industry leader in delivering high-quality, affordable health care, and as the third new facility we have opened this year, the Redwood City Hospital reflects our commitment to providing exceptional, patient-centered care to our members in modern, up-to-date facilities.”

A Blend of Technology and Nature

The 149-bed, 280,000-square-foot structure boasts floor to ceiling glass walls that frame the south side of the lobby and all seven floors of the new hospital. They face the new drought-tolerant healing garden with colors that will change with the seasons.

Some of the facility highlights include a Mother/Baby Unit with all private rooms and five Labor and Delivery rooms plus two more for triage; the spacious Emergency Department with 24 private treatment rooms and powerful 3T-MRI and CT scanners; six operating rooms; and three interventional radiology suites for image-guided procedures.

In addition, the hospital includes pharmacy, lab, health education, mammography, X-ray, and optometry.

The regional center for Advanced Neuroscience and Neurosurgery that serves members throughout Northern California is now highlighted and supported with special features. These include specialized ORs for cranial surgery and patient rooms divided into three zones—for patient, family, and provider—that feature glass doors and adjustable privacy windows so staff can check on the patients, who need a higher level of care.

Throughout the building, the walls are painted in soft colors such as butter, sage, mint, and pumpkin—except on the floor of the regional center, which pops in raspberry sherbet.

The colors not only soothe patients, visitors, and caregivers, but also serve as a sort of color-coding to help people navigate the building, as does the electronic way-finding.

As in the other new buildings opened in 2014, the new Redwood City Hospital boasts the “GetWellNetwork” in all patient rooms, which enables people to learn about their care and caregivers, order food, watch TV and movies on demand, play electronic games, and surf the Web.

The patient rooms also have private baths and pullout guest beds, as well as room service.

An environmentally friendly and sustainable design caps off the futuristic yet welcoming hospital. In addition to the drought-tolerant healing garden irrigated with recycled water, there are low-flow fixtures such as infrared faucets to save water, low VOC paints, PVC-free carpeting, and furniture fabrics made without hard chemicals.

“The new hospital at Redwood City and its fellow new hospitals in Oakland and San Leandro showcase the excellence in medical care that we provide in Kaiser Permanente. Our superior quality outcomes and personalized service have allowed us to increase our membership in Northern California by more than 170,000 individuals this year, and made us the model for health care for the future,” said Robert Pearl, MD, executive director and CEO of The Permanente Medical Group. “The neurosurgical team in Redwood City is world class, and their results exceptional. This state-of-the-art hospital will allow them to provide even more impressive care for the most complex problems that patients experience.”