OSF OnCall Center blessed in downtown Peoria to house digital health programs
The blessing ceremony for OSF HealthCare’s new OnCall building in downtown Peoria on Jan. 14 was limited in scope because of the pandemic, but leaders of the spacious digital health services center took it in stride.
“Honestly, how appropriate for us to launch a digital health hub digitally,” said Michelle Conger, chief executive officer of OSF OnCall.
Speaking to an audience of about 20 in the lobby of the newly renovated, five-level building at 330 S.W. Adams St., Conger — who is also chief strategy officer for OSF HealthCare — called the project “a first step in the transformation of health care.”
The 100,000-square-foot facility, purchased from Caterpillar in the fall of 2019 and renovated in the past year, will house 400 employees working in three shifts to provide “care where I am” 24 hours a day, seven days a week via widely used online technology such as smartphones and tablets.
Online is where people are already turning to “shop for groceries, buy movie tickets, book flights, and seek customer service help,” said Jennifer Junis, senior vice president of OSF OnCall. Virtual care is a direction that health care is moving, speakers at the ceremonies said, accelerated by safety concerns of the pandemic but foreseen well before that by OSF HealthCare.
“I remember when we first launched our digital health efforts,” said Sister Judith Ann Duvall, OSF, chairperson of the boards for OSF HealthCare in her remarks Thursday. “We’ve come a long way. Can you even imagine what is yet to come as we pursue even more how we can serve our communities even better and connect our patients to the care they need wherever they are?”
POSITIONED FOR THE FUTURE
The new OSF OnCall facility positions the Catholic health care system well for that future development.
It brings together all digital services, including OSF’s call center, virtual advanced care program, virtual wellness programs, eICU, and the Pandemic Health Worker program serving patients throughout the OSF HealthCare system. Among the medical professionals just a call or click away will be physicians, nurses, dieticians, and pharmacists, all working in an open environment that encourages communication and collaboration.
The scope of the structure — formerly Caterpillar’s LD building — was outlined by Sister Judith Ann, who said the renovation utilized 80,000 square feet of carpeting, 100,000 square feet of ceiling tile, and 230,000 feet of data cable.
“If you laid (the cable) all out it would be 44 miles,” the distance between Peoria and Bloomington, said Sister Judith Ann.
Someone else who now knows the size of the facility is Deacon Joe Knapp, manager of pastoral care and chaplaincy services at OSF HealthCare Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria. Prior to the ceremonies in the lobby, he walked through the structure’s various levels, sprinkling holy water on work areas, in conference rooms, and gathering spots bearing names such as “Energize,” “Inspire,” “Illuminate” and “Connect.” It took him more than a half-hour and several refills of his sprinkler.
“I feel like I’ve pitched nine innings, but I think my arm is going to be OK,” he told the group in the lobby before leading prayers that God “shower his blessings on all who work in this place.”
OSF OnCall is located near another large downtown structure — the historic Block and Kuhl bulding — that is being remodeled to serve as OSF’s corporate headquarters. Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis was present at the blessing ceremonies and expressed the city’s appreciation for the investment and what it represents for the downtown and region.
In this time of pandemic, “we’re constantly looking for things to raise us up,” said Ardis. “This is that bright spot, and it doesn’t stop after OnCall gets up and running. There will be more in the coming months.”
“May the work achieved in this building always give God honor and praise,” said Sister Judith Ann. “May those we care for through this structure experience God’s love and care for them.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: More photos from the blessing ceremony have been posted to The Catholic Post’s site on Facebook.