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CRH opens Innovation Center and Simulation Lab

Columbus -  

Columbus Regional Hospital recently opened its brand new Innovation Center and Simulation Lab.

The Center, located in the hospital’s basement, features curved glass walls, bright colors, and modern furniture and design to create a welcoming space that fosters creativity. The open floor plans and state of the art technology inspire and facilitate cutting edge brainstorming.

“We must constantly educate, improve and innovate how we deliver healthcare to our patients and their families. We must find ways to deliver healthcare that is more affordable, more efficient, and more effective,” said Lynne Maguire, Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer. “Organizations that can rapidly improve, rapidly adopt best practices, and rapidly innovate are going to have a strategic advantage. The Innovation Center is helping us think beyond.”

Discussions about building an innovation center began in 2006, but innovation has been a core competency at CRH for many years.

“When we talk about innovation we mean the process of using new ideas to make something better and solve problems,” Maguire said. “Sometimes it is to make something new, and sometimes it is to improve an existing process.”

Lean/Six Sigma

CRH’s Lean/Six Sigma teams are housed in the Innovation Center. Referred to as Innovation Consultants, they lead projects focused on improving patient care and making it as effective and efficient as possible.

“Our goals are to remove non-value added steps and to remove delays in a process to try to make that process as fast, as safe and as high quality as it can be,” said Doug Sabotin, Director of Lean Sigma. “For us, it’s all about value. How do we add value to our patients, our patient families, our communities, and our employees.”


Nursing Education and Clinical Simulation also are housed in the Innovation Center. The Simulation Lab is home to seven mannequins, six beds (set up like a nursing unit), an operating room, and a room that can function as an emergency department, an intensive care room, a nursery, an obstetrics room, and a medical-surgical room.

“The potential for learning is beautiful,” said Caroline Sims, Director of Nursing Education & Clinical Simulation. “The boundaries are only in your imagination.”

A computer program brings the mannequins to life, giving instructors the ability to set up virtually any medical scenario. The mannequins breathe, talk, moan, and have heart beats. One even gives birth.

Before Sim mannequins, new nurses learned through videos and presentations and by watching their peers.

“With a Simulation exercise, you can actually do the work,” Caroline said. “You can read a book but when you actually see a scenario and respond to it you grow much faster. We can put our nurses in some really difficult situations before they ever have to encounter them with a human. They can move from novice to expert much faster.”

Unique combination

Combining innovation, lean/six sigma and clinical simulation in one physical space is efficient and unique.

“As we have been benchmarking other hospitals and other practitioners of innovation, we are the only ones so far that I am aware of that are putting all of these pieces together in one streamlined innovation center,” Maguire said. “In our innovation center we are be able to create, adapt and test new ideas to make delivering healthcare smarter. This is an exciting opportunity for the hospital.”

Chief Medical Officer Tom Sonderman, MD, said the combined spaces boost innovative thinking and make it easier to bounce ideas and have conversations about making changes.

“Our industry is being asked to do more than we’ve ever been asked to do before,” Sonderman said. “We need to redesign the way healthcare is delivered and we can do that in the Innovation Center.”

Sonderman said the center will allow for experimenting with changes before rolling them out to the entire hospital.

“It gives us a chance to model and experiment with new ways to take care of patients,” he said. “Our Innovation Center efforts will revolve around making innovation deliberate, rather than accidental.”

To learn more and watch a video about the Center visit: www.crh/org/innovationcenter


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