Emergency Department and Main Entrance – Methodist University Hospital

Methodist University Hospital’s new Emergency Department will replace the 40 year old existing department and better serve its patient population. Multiple locations were considered on the congested urban campus before selecting a location which is in front of the existing hospital. The location requires the demolition of two 1940’s buildings.
The planning criteria included the following:
• 70,000 annual visits
• Ambulance parking for 12-16 ambulances
• Heliport on the roof
• Designed for vertical expansion up to 10 stories without interruption of ED

The concept rotates the main hospital entrance 90 degrees while at the same time utilizing the existing lobby. The emergency department walk-in entrance shares a gallery with the main entrance, which facilitates public access from the ED to other parts of the hospital. The gallery serves as an extension of the ED waiting room.

The extremely congested site required an innovative solution that sets precedence in Tennessee; the first emergency department with dedicated emergency vehicle access below the ED. While this planning approach is new to Tennessee, it has been used for years in urban environments where land is at a premium. Oversized, dedicated elevators on emergency power, ensure rapid access from the ambulance entrance to the main ED 24/7. These elevators are controlled by the emergency department and also serve the new heliport on the roof of the new ED.

Another project innovation to maximize staff efficiency and security and provide a quieter patient experience is the implementation of an “inner core” concept. This concept has been around for a number of years, although very infrequently used until the last ten years. The concept is based on all exam rooms surrounding a staff core that is secured. Patients, family members and other members enter the rooms from an outer corridor. A second door into each room connects to the staff core. This allow staff to focus on patient care without the typical interruptions and it provides a much higher level of quietness for patients and their families. This core facilitates staff visual and audible connection to one another which is critical to the success of an ED.

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