Credit: Photo by Piron Guillaume on Unsplash

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH), an RWJBarnabas Health facility, unveiled the completion of the first phase of the hospital’s surgical services expansion, which includes the construction of a new three-story building that is home to the latest technology and process improvements that make it the most advanced facility in the state.

Phase I includes five new state-of-the-art operating rooms (ORs), including the state’s only intraoperative MRI and a hybrid OR. The hospital’s new Central Sterile Processing (CSP) unit, which is responsible for cleaning and sterilizing all devices used in medical procedures at RWJUH, was also unveiled.

The project, which broke ground in July 2020, will enable RWJUH to meet the increasing demand for complex surgical interventions. The facility integrates the latest technologies and process designs to enhance quality, safety, and patient outcomes, while also increasing its capacity to treat more patients.

“This project is a huge investment towards providing our communities with the best, latest and safest care possible,” says Bill Arnold, President and Chief Executive Officer at RWJUH. “Our new surgical services platform is smarter, enables full integration among the clinical teams, and is totally optimized for infection prevention and reduction in errors. I believe it will attract even more top surgeons, nurses and clinical staff to the RWJUH team, and will enable us to provide more care to our communities, as well as improve the quality of that care.”

Phase I of this $165 million, multi-phased project includes five operating rooms, one of which is a hybrid operating room. Within the entire project, there will be a total of 26 new ORs, three of which are hybrids. Hybrid ORs are designed to allow flexibility for many different specialties, which enhances collaboration among surgeons, leading to the ability to treat more patients per day and to provide better access to life-saving technologies.

Two key technologies available in the Phase I surgical service expansion are bi-plane imaging, in which two rotating cameras provide surgeons with detailed, high quality 3D images, and intraoperative magnetic resonance imaging (iMRI) to give neurosurgeons real-time views of the brain during surgery. The ORs also accommodate both open and laparoscopic surgeries, with the capabilities to switch from one to another during the same operation, offering surgeons more flexibility to handle complex procedures.
Central Sterile Processing Automation

As surgical case numbers and complexity have increased, the need for expanded sterilization and decontamination has grown significantly. RWJUH’s CSP unit footprint has nearly doubled to 16,000 square feet in this expansion, and is now located inside of the new facility.

The new CSP has a custom made automation system that is unique within the United States, providing the best available technology towards infection prevention, patient safety and increased efficiencies. RWJUH worked with a leading manufacturer of equipment and systems for sterilizing medical instruments to create an innovative CSP design that incorporates automation and advanced technologies to maximize productivity of both machines and the CSP team, with quality control and reliability at the forefront.

“Every year, hundreds of patients are transferred to RWJUH from other hospitals because of our expertise and ability to save lives. This is in addition to the thousands of people who have planned procedures at the hospital annually,” says Leonard Lee, MD, Chief of Surgical Services, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and Chair, Department Surgery, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. “The project is not just about adding more ORs. It is about providing our medical professionals with the top tools to do their best work so that our patients receive the best outcomes. This entails facilities with ample space, logical flow and cutting-edge technologies.”

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