Edgerton Hospital completes transition to its new facility

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Sunday, October 2, 2011
— Her trip to the new Edgerton Hospital and Health Services took Sharon Olsen a little closer to home.


“I live right down the road about a half a mile,” Olsen said, pointing out the window of her hospital room.

Olsen was the last of the five patients driven by van Saturday morning from the hospital’s old campus on Stoughton Road to the new east-side location at 11101 N. Sherman Ave.

Olsen is recovering from an Aug. 19 quadruple bypass at St. Mary’s Hospital in Madison. She spent several weeks there before coming home to Edgerton to continue physical therapy.

The title of “Last Patient at the Old Hospital” came with the honor of visits from local newspaper reporters and hospital dignitaries such as Jim Schultz, chairman of the Edgerton Hospital Board.

After introducing himself to Olsen, Shultz turned to flip on the lights in the room.

“It’s OK. I can do it from here,” Olsen said from her seat by the window. She fiddled with a corded remote-control panel in her lap, and the room lit up.

Her husband, Kenneth, sat on a green foldout couch across from Olsen. Each of the 18 private rooms is decorated in pretty greens and earth tones, and each has a pull-out couch for visiting family members.

“It sure beats driving to Madison every day to see her,” Kenneth Olsen said.

Saturday was the first full day of operation for the 52,000-square-foot critical-access facility.

At 7 a.m., staff members ceremoniously flipped the power switch on the hospital sign and called Rock County Communications to say the hospital was ready for emergency services.

The first emergency room patient arrived just after 9 a.m.

By 10:30 a.m., Human Resources Director Julie Norland and Vice President of Patient Care Caryn Oleston had earned a short break.

The two coordinated much of the move. Planning and training for the new facility as well as a new information system have been ongoing for months.

When asked if they learned anything during the move, Oleston giggled a little.

“The lab was a very intricate move,” Oleston said. “We were focusing so hard on moving that and the patients … ”

Then she burst out laughing.

“Wastepaper baskets!” Oleston said. “We didn’t order new wastepaper baskets. We had to call everybody and tell them to bring their old ones.”

Norland and Oleston agreed that staff did enough planning to avoid any real glitches during Friday and Saturday’s move.

“Really, it went very, very smoothly,” Norland said.

The hospital campus will include office space and an attached 10,000-square-foot Dean clinic. Ground is broken for the Dean clinic as well as a small expansion of the outpatient rehabilitation facility at the new hospital.

Yes, really, they’re expanding already.

The addition was an option on the original design. The plan was to build if any money was left after construction, Schultz said.

The finished hospital includes lots of natural light, a heat-reflecting roof, state-of-the-art surgery rooms and patient rooms with individual climate control. Services include inpatient and outpatient care along with physical, occupational and speech therapy, cardiac rehab, acute care, swing-bed care, surgery, wound care and emergency and urgent care.

Along with state-of-the-art medical technology, treatment includes a little good, old-fashioned fresh air.

The windows in patients’ rooms can be cracked open to let in fresh air—a rare but healthy and refreshing feature in hospitals, Schultz said.

Outdoors, the campus will include a 1-acre healing garden and a 2-acre kitchen garden.

Half the patient rooms overlook a 10-acre wooded area that soon will include a 1.5-mile walking trail for use by patients, hospital staff and the public. Other rooms overlook the hospital’s terraced courtyard.

Eventually, prairie grasses will bloom on the hospital’s 297-well geothermal field. Edgerton Hospital is the first critical-access hospital in the nation to use geothermal energy to heat and cool the building.

“We don’t burn any fossil fuels on our campus,” Schultz said.

The fresh air and pretty views meet the hospital’s goal of treating mind, body and spirit, he said.

“Our primary goal is to improve the health of the people who live in our service area—Milton, Edgerton, Albion and Fulton,” said hospital CEO Jim Pernau. “In such a way that can improve the way people live.”

Electronic records featured in hospital

It’s easy to see the carts, boxes and moving vans needed to move equipment from the old Edgerton Hospital to its new location at Sherman Road and Highway 59 on the city’s east side.

What’s not so obvious is the roll out of the hospital’s fully electronic patient records system.

Helping with the rollout is WIITTS, a company owned by Dean and SSM that does just that—medical technology support.

Edgerton High School graduate Annette Fox of Madison sat at a folding table in the sunny ground floor of the hospital on Saturday morning. She was overseeing a crew of tech support workers whose red vests made them easy to spot among the bustle of unpacking hospital workers.

Taped to the wall at Fox’s back was a five- by 10-foot schedule of tech support workers and their duties. That helped Fox keep track of everyone as they rolled out the new Epic software system in Edgerton and simultaneously at the 25-bed Columbus Community Hospital in Columbus.

Fox is a former student of Edgerton Hospital Board Chairman Jim Schultz, former Edgerton High School teacher and the school district’s director of current technology education.

Fox, a former Epic employee, said Edgerton Hospital is one of the smallest hospitals in the nation using Epic software. Only 5 percent of U.S. hospitals use Epic software to the extent Edgerton is using it, she said.

In addition to electronic patient records, the hospital has technology that allows maintenance staff to view hospital systems from any computer with Internet access.

“Our technology doesn’t just focus on the patients’ health,” Schultz said. “It focuses on the healthy operation of the building.”

Last updated: 6:49 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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