Housed in a new, three-story building, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital celebrated the end of the first phase of work to expand surgical services at the RWJBarnabas Health facility in New Brunswick.
According to RWJUH, the technological advances and process improvements revealed May 17 make it the most advanced facility in the state.
Phase I of the $165 million project broke ground in July 2020. The work created five new operating rooms — one a hybrid OR — and features the state’s only intraoperative MRI, according to RWJUH. A Central Sterile Processing unit was also added to clean and sterilize all devices used in medical procedures at the facility.
RWJUH said the expanded surgical services area will allow the hospital to meet rising demand for more complicated surgical interventions using new technology and processes, while also increasing capacity for the number of patients that can be treated.
“This project is a huge investment toward providing our communities with the best, latest and safest care possible,” said RWJUH President and CEO Bill Arnold in a statement. “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.”
Overall, the expansion will bring 26 new ORs — and three total hybrid rooms — to the facility. According to RWJUH, the hybrid ORs offer flexibility across a range of specialties, enhancing collaboration among surgeons and allowing for more patients to be treated each day.
The Phase I surgical expansion includes bi-plane imaging, which features two rotating cameras that provide surgeons with detailed, 3D images. Intraoperative magnetic resonance imaging (iMRI), meanwhile, gives neurosurgeons real-time views of the brain during surgery. The hospital’s new ORs can also accommodate open and laparoscopic surgeries—offering surgeons more flexibility with the ability to switch from one to the other during the same operation.
The new CSP at RWJUH has a footprint nearly twice the size of the old unit, at 16,000 square feet, and is now located inside the new facility. According to the hospital, its custom automation system is unique to the U.S. and will aid in infection prevention, improve patient safety and increase efficiency. The hospital said it worked with a leading manufacturer to come up with an innovative CSP design that maximizes productivity from the machine end, and the CSP team, without sacrificing quality control or reliability.
“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,” said Chief of Surgical Services Dr. Leonard Lee, who is also chair, Department Surgery at 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.”