PHCS News

National Nonprofit Appoints Barry S. Rabner to Board of Directors

Aug 8, 2011

Princeton HealthCare System President and CEO Barry S. Rabner has been appointed to the Board of Directors of The Center for Health Design, a nonprofit organization that promotes the use of design to improve patients' outcomes in healthcare environments

In a letter to Mr. Rabner, Rosalyn Cama, chair of The Center for Health Design's Board, said the appointment was unanimously endorsed by board members in recognition of the values-driven leadership behind the design and construction of the new University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro (UMCPP).

"Your leadership and foresight to manage an evidence-based design project is the exact kind of insight we look forward to in our board deliberations," Ms. Cama wrote. "UMCPP has already contributed greatly to the industry's growing body of knowledge in its interim studies about how the built environment impacts health, organizational and economic outcomes."

"I'm honored to join in The Center for Health Design's mission to transform healthcare environments through evidence-based design," Mr. Rabner said.

UMCPP - scheduled to open in May 2012, replacing PHCS' current acute-care hospital in Princeton - will cover 50 acres of a larger 171-acre health campus in Plainsboro, N.J. The 636,000-square-foot hospital is characterized by patient-, visitor- and environment-friendly innovations.

"From the energy efficiencies to the infection controls to the layout of each room, we integrated research into every aspect of the new hospital," Mr. Rabner said. "We reviewed 1,200 research studies in designing the project. Our goal is to create an environment where we can provide outstanding care."

In 2009, shortly after construction began, UMCPP was named one of the 20 Most Beautiful Hospitals in the United States by Soliant Health, one of the nation's largest healthcare staffing companies. The designation recognized the innovative design elements that promote quality care and protect the environment.

The hospital will be heated, cooled and powered by an adjacent cogeneration plant being developed in partnership with NRG Energy Inc. of Princeton. The cogeneration plant operates more efficiently than traditional power plants and runs on clean-burning natural gas. The glass façade of the 636,000-square-foot hospital is engineered to maximize natural light year-round but minimize the heat from direct sunlight in the summer. The campus will use indigenous landscaping to eliminate the need for pesticides, fertilizers and irrigation.

Inside UMCPP, all patient areas will be served by 100 percent fresh, outside air, helping to prevent the spread of infection. All 231 rooms will be single-patient rooms, which also helps infection control and improves the patient experience. Other patient-friendly features include a healing garden built alongside the hospital and the natural light and nature views available from each patient room.

Rooms at the new hospital will mirror the design of "The Hospital Room of the Future," a working model room that opened more than a year ago at the current University Medical Center at Princeton.

The model room is the subject of ongoing research as part of The Pebble Project, an extensive research initiative administered by The Center for Health Design that is intended to help healthcare facilities improve quality of care; attract patients; recruit and retain staff; increase philanthropic, community and corporate support; and enhance operational efficiency and productivity.

Supported by a $2.8 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the ongoing research enables PHCS to gather and analyze data on medication usage; causes and prevention of incidents such as falls or hospital-acquired conditions; and patient satisfaction surveys.

Staff members are surveyed quarterly, providing feedback on every aspect of the room's design. Patients who stay in the room are asked for feedback as well. Several hundred changes have already been made as a result of feedback from physicians, employees and patients.

The goal of the research is to create a room that is as safe and comfortable as possible for the patient, while providing a positive and efficient work environment for physicians and staff. Once the room design is refined, it will be used to build the 231 patient rooms at the new hospital.

PHCS has committed to sharing the results of the research with other institutions so that patients across the country and the world can benefit. Mr. Rabner has spoken extensively about the project at conferences, including a gathering of hospital CEOs in China and a recent Center for Health Design Conference in British Columbia.