Creating a patient-friendly environment: The transformation of HSSB

Location, accessibility, and capacity. Those were among the reasons that the Health Care Support Services Building (HSSB) was selected as the site for patient COVID-19 vaccinations, according to Robert Stewart, HCIS director for the Business Services Division and project team member for the HSSB vaccination clinic.

Before and after photos of the post-vaccine waiting area of the HSSB vaccination clinic.

“The building also has a first floor that’s modularly configurable, allowing it to be quickly prepared to support the vaccination process, and the supporting infrastructure needed to expand service, should we need it,” says Stewart.

With only a week to transform HSSB into an environment fit for patient care, there wasn’t a moment to spare. After deciding on the location, the next step for hospital leadership was to identify a team of talented, innovative, and hardworking staff members to work through the logistics of the space.

“We pulled together a team that had not traditionally worked alongside one another,” says Stewart. “We were able to collaborate and stay focused on the objective because we knew it wasn’t just important for UI Health Care, but for our entire community.”

The logistics

The physical transformation of the space required effort from HCIS, Safety and Security, Pharmacy, Environmental Services, clinical leadership, Marketing and Communications, and more.

Nearly 70 cubicles were sanitized, cleared of electrical equipment, and deconstructed, to make room for a designated post-vaccination waiting area.

Robert Stewart, HCIS director for the Business Services Division and project team member for the HSSB vaccination clinic

“In the lobby, five check-in stations were constructed and each required power and data cabling to make them functional,” says Stewart. “Waiting chairs were set up for the post-vaccination area. Seventeen vaccination stations were configured out of cubicles already in the space, along with the potential to add several more if needed.”

The operations team also established two treatment rooms, a provider room, and four rooms for supply and support of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Once the physical space had been configured, new safety protocols were established to ensure social distancing, signage was created and placed to direct patient flow, and new equipment was brought in to support the clinic’s needs.

“We set up screens to facilitate communications to patients and added clocks to the walls so patients would know when their waiting period was complete,” says Stewart. “Printers, clinical workstations, and tablets were also set up to support clinic operations.”

The impact

While the motivation was always present, Stewart notes that the creation of the clinic was no easy feat.

“This was a ‘we have to get it done’ initiative,” he says. “It required some long days by members of many different groups to make this a reality.”

In addition to providing the first step toward normalcy for more than 3,000 patients in Phase 1b, the creation of the HSSB vaccination clinic demonstrates UI Health’s Care ability and vision.

“It demonstrates our desire for UI Health Care to be at the forefront of medicine and deliver on it,” says Stewart. “I am so proud to work with my colleagues on this and other initiatives every day.”


  1. Thank you UIHC for organizing this vaccination clinic. I accompanied my dad, who doesn’t speak English, to his appointment and I was incredibly impressed with the well-orchestrated process. The staff were very professional, kind, and efficient. Kudos to everyone who made it happen.

  2. Way to go UI Healthcare! I knew we would be able to problem solve this new step in the covid puzzle. What I think would be neat is if we also keep track of our patient and public immunizations and report that in the noon news along with our employee vaccination rates. I think it helps all of us stay on track knowing we are doing our part to fight the covid pandemic.

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