MANISTIQUE - It has been slightly less than a year since the doctors and staff of Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital moved into their new facility on U.S. 2, but more changes are on the horizon.
"From the moment they enter to the moment they leave we want it to be the best experience they've ever had with health care," said Alison Jones, communication coordinator for SMH.
Patients were first admitted to the $25 million facility in April 2013. The building replaces the previous hospital that was constructed in 1950, and while the new building has fewer rooms than its predecessor, all 12 patient rooms are private, reducing the risk of infection and making patient stays more restful.
"Each private room has a large window facing the woods to enjoy all four seasons of color and nature outside," said Jones.
Upgrades to the technology in patient rooms was also a priority with the creation of the new facility.
"Patient rooms have wireless computerized charting, fully equipped with medical air and patient monitoring systems," said Jones.
Jones noted that the move to digital technology was a big step for the hospital.
"Digital technology is huge. Leading up to the move new digital medical imaging technology had been purchased for mammography, fluoroscopy, and a new portable digital X-ray machine," she said.
SMH plans to continue bringing new technology into the hospital to meet the changing needs of patients and staff who treat them.
"The largest technological changes in the next few years will be preparing for a full electronic medical record in the hospital and in the clinic as defined by the government," said Jones.
So far the new facility has allowed the hospital to offer new types of pulmonary testing and offer full-time orthopedic care to patients.
"I think that our building finally matches our level of service," said SMH CEO Tanya Orr.
As SMH moves into the new year the hospital is considering expanding its facilities further to include programs that were not moved into the new building.
"SMH will analyze in 2014 the possibility of constructing a 10,000 square foot building to house our rehabilitative services department that includes physical, occupational, and speech therapies and our homecare and hospice agency. These services are currently located at the old hospital site," said Jones.
SMH is also considering expanding the hours of the Alan W. Ott Rural Health Clinic. The clinic, housed just inside the hospital's main entrance, staffs eight physicians and offers patients access to specialists in areas such as cardiology, obstetrics, oncology, ophthalmology, podiatry, and otolaryngology. Currently the clinic is open to walk-in patients from 2 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
"We are looking to expand the hours to potentially 7-8 hours per day," said Orr.