“We created a more efficient system to move the patients through more efficiently,” said Dr. Paul Detwiler, chairman of the hospital's board and chief of surgery.
The hospital is divided into two sections: the inpatient side, where surgeries are done, and an outpatient area, where they go home after a short recovery time. Hospital officials said they operate on anything that involves bones including neck, back and joints, while the outpatient side also works with pain management patients.
“I think the key (is) it's a much more personal experience,” Detwiler said. “It's a lot more room for the patients; the rooms are bigger, nicer. They are quieter, the ways the walls are engineered. We made sure that it has a lot of sound insulation.”
Hospital officials said personal experience includes separate offices where patients can be admitted into the hospital or discuss payment options and separate pre-operation and recovery rooms that offer more privacy.
The hospital has the same number of inpatient rooms, but they are much larger to accommodate patents' family members and friends.
“I think that privacy is very important to patients, and our patients will be a lot more comfortable,” said Tony Wahl, CEO of Texas Spine and Joint Hospital.
The redesign included relocation of several key hospital areas and the addition of three pain procedure rooms, admitting offices, pharmacy, laboratory and a surgical pre-operation area.
The aesthetics of the building also were improved with large open windows casting light on natural stone walls and floors. Offices and some waiting areas have glass walls that do not darken the flow of light, and comfortable sitting areas are spread throughout the space. A large cafeteria and café with tables also were added.
“We didn't just think about how a patent comes through the doors, we also thought about nurses, too, because if the nurses aren't happy, no one's happy,” Detwiler said. “They need room. They need space to do their thing, and I think everyone is happier in the end if they don't feel like they are all pushed together.”
The hospital will begin moving new patients through its renovated halls, but the project is not completely done.
Two new operating rooms will be added to the hospital's existing three. Renovations are expected to be complete in September.
Wahl said when the project is done the hospital is projected to be able to handle a 40 percent increase in patient volume. He said currently the facility performs about 20 procedures a day and performs around 80 outpatient procedures.
The hospital performed more than 30,000 procedures and test in 2012, according to a news release from the hospital.
The hospital currently employs more than 300 full- and part-time employees, and will hire an additional 40 as a result of increased capacity, the release states.
“It's a result of having more (operating rooms), more patient rooms, and it's much needed at this time,” Wahl said. “Sixty percent of our patents come from outside Smith County, so a lot of the revenues are coming from outside Smith County. They pay taxes and this (will be) a great benefit for the community for years to come.”
Wahl said he would like to thank the city government and citizens for bearing with the hospital during construction, which at times interrupted the flow of Sixth Street.
“This was formerly a Montgomery Ward, so we think this project (has) really added benefit to the community,” he said.