A new entrance at 75 Francis St., which opened May 12, provides an indoor area for patients and visitors to begin the process for check-in, symptom screening and masking before being directed to their destination in the hospital.
The long entryway, whose windows overlook the Valet plaza outside 75 Francis St., runs parallel to the building and was built in a former seating area of Au Bon Pain.
“We’re really excited about how much this new entrance will enhance the patient and visitor experience,” said Sheila Harris, vice president of Patient Access Services. “Having this additional space will provide a much smoother flow and more comfortable experience for our patients and visitors.”
Hospital leaders said the project — managed by Beatriz Gomez, senior project manager in Real Estate and Facilities — was driven by the need to address logistical challenges the pandemic had caused at patient and visitor entrances.
“From the outset of this pandemic, our 75 Francis St. lobby has never felt so small,” said Andrew Shinn, a senior planner in Real Estate and Facilities. “The increase of screening staff, masking stations, trash for used masks, stanchions, attestation kiosks, distancing dots and acrylic barriers transformed our hospital arrival experience.”
Because of space limitations in the lobby and physical distancing requirements, patients and visitors arriving at 75 Francis St. during busy times of day occasionally had to wait outside before completing check-in and symptom screening.
“The front desk staff, now Safe Care Commitment team, have performed remarkably well in their ability to be versatile while continually and safely admitting thousands of people each day through these doors,” Shinn said. “The new entry offers our patients and visitors a little more space to swap masks and start the screening process inside.”
As part of the project, the revolving doors at 75 Francis St. will now be an exit-only door for patients and visitors leaving the hospital.
While the new entrance is designed to address an immediate need, Shinn noted that the space will likely evolve to continue enhancing the patient and visitor experience after the pandemic ends.
“At some point, perhaps as entry protocols ease, the new indoor space may provide new out-facing seating and become a discharge lounge for patients, who will be able to see when their car is ready,” Shinn said. “For now, we hope this small effort brings a big relief for patients, visitors and front desk staff.”