Canada’s first smart hospital will become a reality and open in 2020

By Catalina Guran

Mackenzie Health marked the biggest milestone yet for the Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital Project with construction beginning in October 2016. Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital will be the first new hospital to be built in York Region, Ontario in the last 30 years. As part of Mackenzie Health’s two-site hospital model, Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital and Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital will provide increased access to cutting-edge health care to its growing communities, closer to home.

When completed in 2020, Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital will offer a state-of-the-art emergency department, modern surgical services, advanced diagnostic imaging, outpatient clinics and intensive care beds. Other specialist services will include medicine, childbirth (obstetrics), paediatrics, mental health and the York Region District Stroke Centre. The new hospital will have approximately 350 beds on opening day – with a capacity of up to 550 – and the majority of patient rooms will be private, a best practice in infection prevention and control.

The Vic De Zen Welcome Center.
The Vic De Zen Welcome Center.

Intelligent hospital vision and intelligent workflows

Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital will be the first hospital in Canada to feature “smart” technology systems and fully integrated medical devices that can communicate directly with each other to maximize information exchange. To achieve this, Mackenzie Health is reviewing its care delivery model. A connected health strategy, using unified communications and Internet of Health Things (IOHT), will enable intuitive, patient-centered, highly efficient and quality healthcare. The smart hospital vision will be applied to Mackenzie Health’s new Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital as well as the existing Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital, for a seamless care experience.

Seventy-five intelligent workflows are being developed to improve the way staff work, ultimately enabling caregivers to spend more time with patients. An example of such an intelligent flow currently under development focuses on the Code Blue (cardiac arrest) response. Using integrated technology, the vital signs monitor will send a silent alert directly to the critical care response team. Team members will wear real-time location services (RTLS) smart badges that will automatically replace elevators once they are nearby, saving valuable time. At the same time the alert is triggered, the bed will automatically return to a flat position to allow resuscitation, and the IV pump will stop dispensing narcotics that may cause respiratory depression. A summary of the patient’s medical file will also appear on the room screen, to facilitate consultation by caregivers. Once the response team arrives, the alerts will stop automatically.

The labor, delivery, and postpartum room features warm natural wood accents, floor-to-ceiling windows, and ample space for family members.The labor, delivery, and postpartum room features warm natural wood accents, floor-to-ceiling windows, and ample space for family members.
The labor, delivery, and postpartum room features warm natural wood accents, floor-to-ceiling windows, and ample space for family members.

Designed through the eyes of the patient

The new Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital is designed through the eyes of the patient, connected to nature and enabled by smart technology. Eight kilometers west of the existing Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital and just north of Canada’s Wonderland, Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital will have generous drop-off areas and dedicated entrances for emergency and labor patients respectively .

With its double-height ceiling and filled with daylight and warm, natural materials, the Vic De Zen Family Welcome Center and main lobby will provide a relaxed and welcoming environment for patients, visitors and staff. The reception desk, registration and main public elevators will be visible upon entering the hospital, making wayfinding simple and clear. Upon arrival at Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital, patients will have the option to use an information kiosk or smartphone app to schedule and register for appointments and navigate the hospital, including to access information about non-medical services (i.e. coffee, food, retail). . A feature staircase will back onto a large, multi-story glass wall overlooking the main courtyard. Visitors will also benefit from outward wayfinding views in each public elevator lobby of the facility, a key element of intuitive wayfinding.

Inpatient rooms will be efficiently organized with nearby communication stations, ensuring that staff are easily accessible to patients, while respecting patient privacy. Electronic status boards will be displayed in patient care areas and will automatically include infection prevention and control details, as well as patient information, including allergies and fall risks.

Designed to meet the needs of patients and families, rooms will also feature natural wood accent materials to provide a sense of home and warmth, as well as ample space for families and visitors. A proven aid to recovery, the large windows will offer stunning views of the outdoors. With an integrated bedside solution (IBS), patients, physicians and staff will have access to medical and non-medical information at the bedside. Examples of these services could include: patient entertainment, meal selection, room controls such as temperature and lighting, video conferencing capabilities to consult remotely or speak with family, translation services in real time, as well as an electronic medical records portal for staff that view medications, allergies, vital signs, diagnostic reports and images.

And after?

While the implementation phase is well underway, the interior space design of Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital continues to be developed with construction ramping up in early 2017.

For more information and to view renderings and flyover video of the future Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital, visit

Polly Ferguson

"Freelance communicator. Hardcore web practitioner. Entrepreneur. Total student. Beer ninja."

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