Transition Planning 101 – What you need to know


Kyrsten Johnson, LSS GB

Associate Principal, Director of Transition Planning Services

Defining Transition Planning (TP)

Different companies have different answers. Often these services are thought to be the relocation of contents, equipment and furnishings but ‘the move’ is only a small part. To fully understand the services and fully realize the benefits on a newly built project, the best place to start defining Transition Planning is at the very beginning of a project.

On a new-build project, TRANSITION PLANNING entails all the activities related to change:

  • Change in physical location and how it will be ready.
  • Change in operations in that space.
  • Change for the staff and how they will be ready to function in it.

All facilities that move into a new space must address these changes. Transition Planning should provide the road map for the planning, the experience to guide the staff through the project, and oversee the move-in. This allows the staff to do the work needed for the project while continuing to do what they do best: take care of patients.

Intricate pull-planning during a TP session with a healthcare client

Transition Planning Services – What’s in it for you?

The overall goal is to help the client — especially the operational staff — prepare for the new facility.
Transition Planning Services bring:

  • Preparation, planning, communication, progress management and implementation
  • Visioning and realization of the future state workflows to achieve the organization’s overall objectives
  • Alignment and optimization of future state operations between the clinical, non-clinical and ancillary services
  • Identification of process improvements that will improve efficiencies
  • Full orientation, education and training in the new space.

Transition Planning Services Across the Project Continuum

When Transition Planning Services (TPS) are engaged from the design phases through to move-in, a vital thread of continuity is woven throughout the project. e.g. In Healthcare, if the new design includes an added medical service, several operational and readiness implications for the facility ensue and need addressing. Choosing the equipment, additional training, new policies and procedures, workflows, accounting and billing details, and provider privileges will need to be in place before the building is open and functioning. Ideally, Equipment Planning, Technology Planning, Procurement, and Commissioning should work in concert with Transition Planning to ensure tasks associated with the design are tracked and completed. This continuity ensures critical details are retained.

What do Transition Planning Services entail?

Continuing the healthcare system example — an older hospital has outgrown its population; strategic planning discussions begin, leading to the creation of a master plan, accommodating fiscally responsible growth. Design follows master planning, etc. Including a Transition Planner during these early, strategic discussions ensures the following areas are planned for:

  • Transition Cost Estimation/Foundation is a high-level estimate of costs for operational planning, activation, staff preparation and orientation hours and move management is completed. These costs tend to be either underestimated or forgotten all together. At this time, the Transition Planning Foundation can be prepared for the project.
  • User Group Facilitation goes beyond functional narratives as this service entails leading the staff through workshops to identify current pain points and discovering what their new departments could/should look like for optimal service delivery. Documentation of future state workflows early-on yield less work later in the project.

After Design is complete, construction begins. Generally, staff turnover and changes that occur upon realization of such bold, brave projects require review of the future state workflows –and likely revisions — through to the opening. A successful transition process then needs the following:

  • Operational Service Delivery Redesign tasks are completed by the staff under the management of Transition Planners is paramount. This work engages staff and makes use of the information gathered in the User Group Facilitation to finalize operational plans for the new space. This normally takes multiple months to allow staff to attend to this around their day jobs.
  • Occupancy Planning ensures staff is ready to function in the building by establishing logistics and orientation appropriately; training plans are completed and scheduled. The high-level cost estimate (completed during the planning phase) is converted into a detailed budget.
  • Activation planning comes next, when the staff are led through creation of a schedule to outfit and activate the building physically and finalize move schedules. The schedule starts with the delivery of equipment. Dress rehearsals are executed from developed scenarios so staff can fully test the facility, patient care operations, new equipment, new technologies, security, transport activities and more.
  • Move Management completes the process with a concise plan and schedule to ensure items are relocated and patient move planning is safe and secure.

A crowded OR illustrates the level of detail needed when planning the use of the space.

How prepared are you and your staff to open your new facility?

Prior to moving into your new space, having answers to the following questions (and more) is essential. The right transition team will help guide you through these challenges, ensuring continuous operations and minimal lost revenue.

  • How do we ensure all services are available for activation at the new site while maintaining services at the existing site on opening day?
  • How do we budget for occupancy-related expenses? What is included in these extraordinary expenses? Will we likely incur lost revenue related to the opening?
  • What does the orientation program look like when all employees are considered “new employees” for the new hospital requiring mass orientation in a few weeks?
  • How do we move critically ill patients when the clinical ancillary departments are moving at the same time?
  • How can we get the buy-in and support of staff, physicians, and critical stakeholders? What are the licensure change requirements?
  • How will the newly configured units affect the delivery of support services? (Dietary, EVS, Biomedical Engineering, Security, Materials Management)
  • How will new technology (medical equipment, IS/ Telecom, building maintenance systems) affect staffing, workflow, and systems monitoring?
  • How can we ensure all the transition tasks and issues have the input of all impacted departments in the organization?
  • How do we merge the sometimes conflicting priorities of patient care, finance, physicians and community in developing an activation/occupancy strategy?

We welcome the opportunity to answer these questions and more. How can we help on your upcoming project? Contact me.

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Associate, Senior Mechanical Engineer

Andy Neathery

Technology BIM Specialist

Angela Howell, BSN, RN

Medical Equipment Planner

Angelica Chow, PE, LEED AP BD+C

Electrical Engineer

Anjali Wale, PE, LEED AP

Senior Associate, Senior Electrical Engineer

Arturo S Salud

Associate, Senior Electrical Designer

Austin Barolin, PE, CEM, LEED AP O&M

Senior Associate, Senior Energy Analyst

Bethany Beers, CCP, LEED AP BD+C

Senior Associate, Energy & Commissioning Consultant

Brennan Schumacher, LEED AP

Associate Principal, Lighting Design Lead

Brian Hageman, LEED AP

Associate Principal, Plumbing Discipline Lead

Brian Hans, PE, LEED AP

Associate Principal, Senior Mechanical Engineer

Brian J. Lottis, LEED AP BD+C

Associate, Senior Mechanical Designer

Brianne Copes, PE, LEED AP

Senior Associate, Mechanical Engineer

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Principal, Director of Business Development, Mazzetti+GBA

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Associate, Director of VDC

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