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The Honickman Center: High-Tech, High-Touch Healthcare

 3 min read

In less than one year, high-tech and high-touch will intersect at the corner of 11th and Market Streets in Philadelphia. A technological marvel, the Honickman Center will provide a seamless experience for patients and providers by blending cutting-edge, compassionate, physical, and virtual care.

Tom Balcavage, senior vice president and chief technology officer for Jefferson, and his team are responsible for delivering the biomedical equipment as well as IT Infrastructure at the Honickman Center. He explains, “My role is multi-factored across the enterprise, specifically in the Honickman Center. From telephones, computers, the networks that they run on, servers, storage, and cloud—that’s all within my team—and our technology powers and underlies that.”

Balcavage says, “We want to be the NASCAR pit crew to our clinicians. Within the Honickman Center, they are really driving what equipment we put in, and we’re there to support them.”

“If you think about the Honickman Center’s 19 floors, everything from the 10 operating rooms to more than 300 treatment locations, we have miles and miles of fiber optic cable and a wireless network that will allow for all of our pieces of equipment to connect, and be there when the clinicians need them to treat our patients.”

One of the advanced technologies the team is putting in place is Realtime Location Services (RTLS). “When a clinician needs to treat a patient, a significant amount of specialized equipment needs to be at the ready,” says Balcavage. “We put a widget on each of our modalities and pieces of equipment, and rather than searching for the equipment’s location, they’re able to visit our RTLS screen, find it, and deliver care to the patient.”

The Center will also feature digital wayfinding, digital white boards, and a digital front door that will provide assistance in not only getting around the building, but also link to information on parking available nearby.

“There are absolutely applications and technology within Honickman that are groundbreaking,” Balcavage says. “We’re focused on knitting that together end-to-end. If you think about what we’re looking to deliver for our patients, everything from the appointments that they make, to the treatment that they get in the room, to the follow-up care that we deliver for them, to the electronic health record—all of this technology is coalesced and allows us to provide that seamless care experience.”

Balcavage offers an important caveat. “Technology has to be available all day, every day.” “My team and I are responsible—and we take it incredibly seriously—to deliver this groundbreaking technology. We need to take steps to ensure that no matter what may be happening with the weather or any other development, our system is always up and available.”  

In addition, planning technology for a project of this scope is never static, and must allow for growth and change. “We’ve really strived to future-proof the building,” he shares.

These innovations will also inform care at other settings. “We can think of the Honickman Center as a demonstration site of how we can not only deploy these technologies in an ambulatory setting, but as a proof case to roll it out across the Jefferson enterprise,” Balcavage says. “The groundbreaking work we do at Honickman gets applied everywhere Jefferson delivers care. It’s humbling for me to work on a building that I know is going to be a game-changer in Philadelphia. Just to play a small part in that, I have immense pride.”