Bringing in the Community

Mike Pomarico and Stephen Delray presenting at the MMC Weiler ED project to the community.

Mike Pomarico and Stephen Delray presenting at the MMC Weiler ED project to the community.

As Emergency Departments continues to see large volumes of patients, longer wait time, and over crowded spaces, it is necessary to re-think and re-design how a modern emergency department functions.  

Last week, our Principal, Mike, and Project Manager, Stephen, engaged the community with the new design and renovation of the Emergency Department at Montefiore Medical Center's Weiler Campus in Manhattan.   These community meetings are very important, and as designers we must be very receptive to feedback, concerns, and suggestions amongst the community.  


Later on we caught up with Mike and had the opportunity to hear some of his thoughts on the processes of these meetings.

What is the importance of these meetings?

Mike: It is important to the hospital's mission to integrate the community into the delivery of care and to maintain and raise the awareness level to not only improvements that are being made in the continuum of care, but also what choices are available for deliver of care.

What does the client (hospital) get from the meeting?

Mike: The client builds their relationship with the community.  They build a sense of trust, the client also convey's their mission to the community and obtains a buy in on their care delivery model.  The client also gains valuable information related to patient satisfaction as it pertains to both access and quality of care.

How much pull do they have as stakeholders?

Mike: The community as stake holders are influences whom are able to, through their community board and other social and political associations, broadcast the hospitals mission plans, achievements and care delivery models to a broad base of the community.

How do these meetings effect our design?

Mike: As we present to and participate in the questions and answer portion of the meeting, we have the opportunity to preemptively understand community needs and concerns that may offer potential design adjustments and/or modifications.

ER, Critical Care & Trauma

Pomarico Design Studio has had the pleasure to design and build the Emergency Department and supporting programs at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital.   As emergency departments continue to be heavily used, PDS is innovating creative solutions to improve the ED experience.  Through strategic planning, collaborating with hospital staff, and innovating the latest health technology, our goal is to create the best environment of care during times of uncertainty.

Take a fly through of the ED + supporting programs at LCMH.

Video Credit: Lake Charles Memorial Health System

Emergencies don’t stop at the ER door. Memorial is committed to providing everything patients need for critical care and trauma.
— Lake Charles Memorial Health System

The Art of Visualization


From pencil sketches and watercolors to modern computer based renderings, architectural visualization has proven to be the keystone to client project comprehension. The ability to take two dimensional line work drawings and bring them into our three dimensional world creates a link between what is in the architects mind's eye and what the built project will look and feel like.

Architectural visualization seeks to strike a balance between the often criticized utopian ideal of a project and the realities of its surroundings by creating a series of image which tell the story of the space to clients and future users. This can be especially important in healthcare design where much of the functionality of the space takes place in the three dimensional plane. Where plans and elevations show the layout of a room in relation to the whole through a series of drawings, a rendering can show how the space feels in a single, easily comprehensible image. 

The following are renderings and photographs of some of our recent projects:

Emergency Department at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital

Emergency Department at HackensackUMC Pascack Valley Hospital

Linear Accelerator at Chilton Hospital

Nursing Station at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital

Infusion Center at Memorial Sloan Kettering - Basking Ridge Hospital

Entry Lobby at Memorial Sloan Kettering - Basking Ridge Hospital

Emergency Department Care Initiation

PDS has been performing research and development to understand, assess and improve the Emergency Department patient experience through improving the care initiation process. 

This work is focused on a fundamental change in the patient arrival, triage and registration process, including management of ESI 4/5 patients to minimize their impact on ED bed positions.

In the traditional model the patient arrives and is greeted at a reception desk.  A registration clerk, and/or clinician along with a security representative or any combination of this group may staff this desk position.  At this point a variety of processes may occur, registration, verification and possibly a quick triage.  Then the patient would be directed to bed, triage or waiting contingent on current occupancy within the ED.  They may be indicated for either the core ED or Fast Track if available. 

Within the constraints of this model, a number of issues may develop that impacts the patient experience:

  • Multiple simultaneous arrivals may overrun the reception desk staff causing lag and an extended queue time to reach the registrar or clinician.
  • Extended queue line may impact access to the ED lobby or waiting area, may cause automatic doors to cycle excessively and impact environmental control.
  • Extended queue line causes patients to comingle in close quarters, a potential infection control issue.
  • Acquiring of personal information at the registration desk may compromise confidentiality, patients may not have audible privacy and may refrain from wanting to reveal their health issues or feel uncomfortable in doing so.
  • Triage may become overwhelmed also, which may cause backlog in the waiting room and waiting room saturation, again causing patients to comingle and potentially causing patient dissatisfaction.
  • Bed saturation within the ED may also cause waiting room saturation, again triggering co-mingle and dissatisfaction issues.

In the PDS R&D model the patient arrives and is greeted by a clinical concierge person at a podium, rather than a desk.  The clinical concierge performs a quick assessment of the patient and then directs them into a series of Care Initiation Pods.  Once in the Care Initiation Pod, both the registration and triage team supports the patient, working together to support multiple patients, each in a discrete confidential and environmentally friendly space.  From this point patients are either taken direct to bed (ESI 3) or if ESI 4/5, are directed to what we are calling a Rapid Treatment Unit.  The RTU is comprised only of chairs/recliners and intended only for the ESI 4/5 patient, which may comprise of 20% of the ED volume.  The intent is to siphon these patients out of the flow of the core ED and minimize impact to operations.  In addition to supporting the ESI 4/5 patient, the RTU can act as a buffer between the Care Initiation Pods and the core ED, allowing patients to be seated, waiting for transfer to a stretcher in the ED but with oversight of the clinical staff and not being warehoused in the Waiting Room.

Anticipated impacts to the patient experience:

  • Immediate greeter station that quickly moves patient into the care initiation process, which will eliminate queue times and congestion in the lobby.
  • The registration and quick triage process occurs in a private space, not in the waiting room, which improves confidentiality, and makes the patient feel that they are seeing a provider immediately upon entering the ED.
  • Minimized impact to waiting room overcrowding and co-mingling of patients.
  • ESI 4/5 patients go direct to chair, are treated and released without ever entering the core ED.
  • Creation of a buffer to bridge between the waiting room and the core ED when occupancy rates are high, providing space to hotel patients within a clinical environment under supervision, not in corridors or waiting rooms.

We are currently testing this alternative delivery concept with a number of clients with whom we are working on Emergency Department planning.  In addition we are using computer simulations to further this research and optimize the ratios of initiation pods to rapid treatment unit chairs to maximize efficiency.

Brooklyn Hospital Think Tank

Earlier this year, our Principle, Michael had the opportunity to work alongside noted healthcare design industry leaders around the New York City area to spend three days in Brooklyn thinking about what an idealized future of healthcare could be.

Read the full article

Participants included:

Rosalyn Cama, president and principal interior designer

CAMA Matthew A. Finn, president and director of applied research, Cognitive Design

Carolyn Glaser, vice president for strategy and operations, The Center for Health Design

Robin Guenther, principal, Perkins+Will and senior advisor, Health Care Without Harm

Debra Levin, president and CEO, The Center for Health Design

Don Orndoff, senior vice president, National Facilities Services at Kaiser Permanente

Tanya Paz, senior designer, CAMA

Michael Pomarico, principal-in-charge, Pomarico Design Studio Architecture

Barry S. Rabner, president and CEO, Princeton HealthCare System

David Ruthven, creative lead, Philips Design 


Nyack Hospital Breaks Ground

We are ecstatic to break ground for Nyack Hospital's Emergency Department!  PDS was tasked to modernize and reconfigure the existing Emergency Department.  This 18,000 SF project will be a mixed occupancy expansion, including a newly designed Emergency Department, Lobby, and supporting spaces.

Click the following image to read more at Lohud

PDS' ED rendering for Nyack Hospital

PDS' ED rendering for Nyack Hospital

Three bricks, different aesthetics

Gauthier Behavioral Health Hospital

Location: Lake Charles, Louisiana

In this material study, PDS was challenged to find a simple and cost effective way to make an ordinary brick wall appear extraordinary and dynamic. In an attempt to make the massive 65,000 SF building feel light weight, we are working with a gradient of 3 brick types. Moving from darkest at the bottom and fading slightly to a light colored brick, we ended by capping the building with a Bone colored roof in a final gesture of lightness and visual balance.