Ward of the 21st Century creates a new standard of care

Ward of the 21CenturyIn 2004, the Ward of the 21st Century (W21C) was created in the pursuit of knowledge, innovation and technological advancement - all of which would lead to the betterment of patient care.

Setting the stage for what would be a new standard of care, the "high touch, high tech" unit would become the testing ground for a collaborative approach using technology to take patient care to the next level. Working with electrical engineers, the W21C was designed to use wireless technology that would put information in the hands of the caregivers, patients and their families.

The W21C started in May 2004 when the medical teaching unit (Unit 36) opened at Foothills Medical Centre (FMC) followed by the opening of the W21C Research and Innovation Centre (W21C Centre) in November 2009. The W21C and W21C Centre introduced now commonly used technology and practices, such as negative pressure rooms to isolate the spread of infection, simulation technology for training and wireless patient monitoring equipment.

The W21C's vision was and remains to define the future of health care."We're creating a future of health care and sharing that with others in the [Calgary Health] Region and in other jurisdictions," said Nancy Guebert, then co-director of the unit who now serves as the Vice President of Rockyview General Hospital.

The primary goal of the W21C has been to create state-of-the-art clinical and research infrastructure that attracts and enables multidisciplinary researchers, industry and other stakeholders to collaborate on innovative approaches to improving patient safety and quality of care. The W21C's equipment and space infrastructure facilitate multidisciplinary research and innovation activities within a nationally and internationally unique W21C 'living laboratory.'

Impressed by the ward's vision and innovation, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge toured the W21C during their royal visit through Calgary in July 2011.