St. Joseph Mercy Oakland (SJMO), a 443-bed comprehensive community and teaching medical center located in Pontiac, Michigan, received the 2014 Generative Space Award, which recognizes healthcare organizations whose architectural designs and organizational cultures combine to produce breakthrough, sustainable improvements in health and healthcare. Only one other organization received the 2014 Generative Space Award, and since the awards began in 2010 only eight organizations have been named as recipients. SJMO is the only acute-care hospital to have earned the award.
The Generative Space Award is presented by the CARITAS Project, a nonprofit global network committed to the creation of transformational environments that enhance human health.
In its physical design, the new patient tower at SJMO incorporates the most current knowledge about healing environments, including the integration of eight leading-edge technological elements to improve caregiving, decrease risk, and reduce stress on patients and caregivers. The organization’s culture has been carefully developed to be responsive to all the requirements of modern medicine: patient-centered, adaptable, collaborative, and professional in all respects.
Physically, the patient tower includes, among many other things, large single-patient rooms, incorporation of natural light throughout the facility, and beautiful settings for prayer, meditation, and restoration throughout the building and grounds. A lobby fireplace and water features, extensive use of curated art in patient rooms and public areas, and special touches such as swan-shaped towels and large flat-screen televisions, create a five-star hospitality experience in a de-institutionalized setting. The design also includes a “sanctuary” for physicians, where they can unwind from the stresses of their work and strengthen their collegial relationships with each other.
The organization’s culture is centered on its “Six I’s”—intentional, individuality, interaction, interpretation, inspirational, and institute—and on its understanding that all stakeholders are engaged in a journey that is both personal and connected to others. The Six I’s have been used as the basis for a three-day training program for all associates, called the “Journey Intensive.” More than 2700 people have attended this training. Each department has “I-Teams” that actively investigate and implement improvements.
From their grounding in the Six I’s and the personal, connected journey, and other organizational practices, all SJMO employees are empowered to act to improve the experience of all of the hospital’s stakeholders—patients, family, visitors, fellow staff, and community members. A principal basis for honoring SJMO with the Generative Space Award was the extent to which SJMO demonstrated that it exemplifies a new healthcare paradigm, in which the hospital is receptive to input from all of its stakeholders and actively collaborates with them to continually support each person’s flourishing in his or her personal, connected journey.