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(Editor's Note: This is the third in a series of articles, originally appearing in the Daily Local News, depicting the new features and the new technology incorporated into the expansion of Chester County Hospital.)

WEST CHESTER, PA - Comparing the new operating rooms at Chester County Hospital to ones used just a couple of decades ago is like comparing a rotary telephone to today's smartphone. The technology difference is light years ahead.

The $300 million expansion of the Chester County Hospital adds 15 operating rooms - five for cardiovascular procedures – which includes three high-tech labs for catheterization and electrophysiology, five for orthopedic procedures and five for robotics and general surgery.

The imaging technology has different capabilities. Doctors performing procedures can watch real-time images of the body on 75-inch monitors, and help determine which technology works best.

Although image-guided surgeries are common, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) devices have long been used by doctors to help view internal areas of the body while performing complicated surgeries. Never before have all the most advanced imaging devices been available in one operating room.

"And all of the equipment is tied to the ceiling," said Michael Duncan, president and CEO of Chester County Hospital. "It's easier to walk around, and there are no cables or equipment crowding the floor space."

No longer do surgeons have to manually move their patient. It's done by robotics in the new operating rooms.

The operating rooms, laboratory and pathology department are now equipped with the BDV IDSS Operating Room Integration System. This technology allows providers to have up to 32 imaging devices and 32 display destinations for high-definition viewing, capturing and recording. The system will also connect teams within and beyond the OR for robust, real-time collaboration, communication, and education.

It means that the surgeon's real-time work is not only displayed on the big screen in the operating room, but also on a screen for professionals in the Penn Medicine system to collaborate instantly.

"It's all connected," Duncan said. "There is no delay. It's quite impressive."

, where the sickest patients go, also gets the same high-tech advancements.

"We are all on the same electronic medical record," Duncan said. "Whatever the ICU sees can be seen downtown. If they need consultation from an expert, physicians can look at the same record and images and can communicate with each other."

The average nurse to patient ratio in the ICU is one nurse for every two patients, unlike the rest of the hospital which utilizes one nurse for every four patients.

Also new at the ICU, which is located just above the operating rooms, is a large 75-inch monitor in the patient's room. About two-thirds of the screen is for television, while the rest of the screen displays clinical information about the patient.

"We are the first in the Health System to install this kind of technology in rooms," Duncan said. "This is the latest and the greatest."

But all of the new technology, Duncan said, pales in comparison to the hospital's staff.

"The biggest tech we have in our ICU is the great nurses, who are technically trained and are totally focused on the patient."

Surgeons, Duncan said, have been trained to use all the new imaging technology.

Emergency care for infants also gets attention. Chester County Hospital has the highest level ranked level Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in the county, as awarded by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

The Moore Neonatal Intensive Care Unit can accommodate up to 15 infants and manages the care of premature or full-term babies who have special medical concerns. It is led by a team of Neonatologists from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia on staff at the hospital.

"We need more labor and delivery rooms because we deliver two-thirds of the babies in Chester County," Duncan said. "We will move pediatrics into one of the refurbished wings we are moving into the patient tower, when we get to that point, and then we will expand labor and delivery."

Those who come in for procedures -- inpatient or outpatient -- will find the process has improved greatly. When waiting, there are patient tracking boards so family members can see where their loved one is in the surgical process. A simple text message can also alert them when the procedure is complete. And while they are waiting, they can look out at nature due to all of the natural light.

Navigation, too, has improved.

The hospital’s main entrance has been relocated to the intersection of East Marshall Street and Montgomery Avenue, by the existing parking garage. Patients may continue to self-park in or around the garage and valet parking* is available for all patients, visitors and community members. All parking options are free.

"Everything is together," Duncan said. "There's a U-shaped driveway, so patients can be dropped off at the entrance, check-in and have their procedure, and then discharged right back out at the same driveway. Wayfinding is dramatically better."

Tomorrow: We will look at some of the exciting new design features at Chester County Hospital. Learn More! >>


*Please Note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic emergency, we will be temporarily suspending valet parking services until further notice.


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