Press Releases

June 02, 2022

Brigham and Women's Hospital Celebrates Completion of Emergency Department Expansion

After seven years of planning, approvals, and a building process that included continued construction during a worldwide pandemic, Brigham and Women’s Hospital is proud to announce the completion of phase 3 of the expansion of its Emergency Department (ED). With a doubling in square footage and a 30-bed increase in total capacity, the new space will boast state-of-the-art trauma rooms, a dedicated area for behavioral health patients, additional emergency imaging capabilities and a continued commitment to high-quality and personalized care to the Brigham’s community, patients, and families.

The patient-centric expansion will improve efficiency for those working in the space and was designed to support a reduction in wait times for patients. The new space will also aid hospital leadership in addressing many of the challenges that manifest in emergency departments across the country, including high census and inpatient boarding challenges. Importantly, the new space is a more comfortable, healing environment for patients and their loved ones.

“We focused on designing a space to both provide the best health care experience possible to our patients and to support our staff. It’s not just about creating more space but also prioritizing the workflow and the patient journey to make sure we’re leading the way and being an example for other emergency departments in the future,” said Michael J. VanRooyen, MD, MPH, chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Enterprise Chief of Emergency Services at Mass General Brigham.

“We’re excited to formally open our new Emergency Department, which will allow us to continue to support our patients who need emergency medical care,” said Robert S.D. Higgins, MD, MSHA, President of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Executive Vice President at Mass General Brigham. “This new, state-of-the-art space is part of our ongoing commitment to meet the needs of our community and improve our patients’ experience.”

The three-phase construction project broke ground in 2019 and has resulted in a 26,000 square-foot expansion of the ED’s footprint into a new space. The renovation created an increase from 49 to 81 beds, two state-of-the-art trauma rooms, two advanced X-ray rooms, an additional CT (computerized tomography) scanner, and a second ultrasound room. The space and added equipment will improve efficiency for staff and allow for more comfortable and personalized care for patients.

“Through this expansion, our team looks forward to be able to better serve patients and families,” said Christopher Baugh, MD, MBA, vice chair of Clinical Affairs, Department of Emergency Medicine at the Brigham. “This expansion is also an important part of our mission to ensure that we are supporting our surrounding community — especially as it pertains to serving those patients for whom it could be life-changing or life-saving to have access to the highly complex and specialized care that we provide here at the Brigham.”

Included in the project is a new naming convention for the six areas (pods) that make up the ED. Those pods will now be named after the Boston streets that are connected to the final stretch of the Boston Marathon: Arlington, Berkeley, Clarendon, Dartmouth, Exeter, and Fairfield. The naming convention is profoundly meaningful to the Boston community and pays homage to the victims of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, while honoring the caregivers, including those in the ED, who played a critical role in responding to the tragic event and caring for the wounded.

The construction project also included the creation of a new entrance, security and check-in desk, waiting room, care initiation and triage rooms, as well as an eight-bed behavioral health unit. Care initiation and triage rooms make it possible to quickly advance patient care during longer wait times and for low-acuity patients who can be seen and discharged by medical staff without waiting longer for care elsewhere in the department. Additionally, the behavioral health unit has been environmentally tailored to suit the needs of this patient population by providing safe and private space, with softer lighting and reduced noise.

“Improving patient privacy and making sure we provide our behavioral health population with the most respectful space, tailored to their needs, was a top priority for the ED’s nurses, who have been involved in every aspect of the new space,” said Janet Gorman, MM, BSN, RN, Associate Chief Nursing Officer of the Emergency Department at the Brigham.

In addition, a novel and specialized oncology unit, catering to the unique needs of patients with cancer emergencies, will be opened at a later date.

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted numerous facets of hospital operations throughout the year, and the ED was no exception. However, through the work of hospital and ED leadership, Brigham Infection Control experts, construction teams and local regulatory agencies, the construction project continued through this difficult stretch of time.

“We maintained the highest safety standards despite the unique challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Sonal V. Gandhi, vice president of Real Estate, Planning and Construction at the Brigham. “It is a testament to the innovative and dedicated team of professionals who work tirelessly to meet the critical need for increased capacity while providing the best health care experience for our patients, families, surrounding community and staff.”

“We were simultaneously experiencing in real time how crucial the need was for increased capacity at Brigham and Women’s as hospital staff cared for countless COVID patients at the height of the pandemic while construction was ongoing,” said Bryan Northrop, Executive Vice President of Building Operations for Skanska USA in Boston. “Our goal with every project we take on at Skanska is to construct safe, healthy buildings that will serve their communities for years to come and this project proudly reflects that standard.”