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Facility designed to also meet wartime needs

World’s largest ER opens in Israel, raising bar for tech and scale in emergency med

President Isaac Herzog and Prime Minister Yair Lapid open new 8,000 square meter Tel Aviv facility boasting self-triage and robots to help you find your way

Nathan Jeffay is The Times of Israel's health and science correspondent

One of the new ER robots at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center guides a patient (courtesy of Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center)
One of the new ER robots at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center guides a patient (courtesy of Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center)

With self-triage upon check-in and robots to help you find your way, the world’s largest emergency room opened in Israel on Thursday.

The 8,000 square meter (86,000 square foot) facility, at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center (Ichilov), was inaugurated by President Isaac Herzog, Prime Minister Yair Lapid, Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz, and philanthropist Sylvan Adams.

The facility was designed for both regular emergency needs and a sudden influx of casualties from war and terror. There are 100 inpatient emergency beds, more than any other Israeli hospital, and this can be doubled in an emergency scenario.

Special provision is made for psychiatric patients needing emergency care, and there’s a dedicated room for people who arrive after being subjected to sexual assault, where their needs can be met with extra sensitivity.

Adams, a Canadian-Israeli who has funded several high-profile projects in Israel over recent years, donated $28 million to the hospital, which is naming the ER in his honor.

He told The Times of Israel as the opening ceremony got underway: “Israel is already a leader on the world stage in medicine, with Israeli scientists and doctors bringing us some of the most important research, innovations and care solutions. So it’s befitting that Israel should be a trailblazer when it comes to the provision of emergency care, and I’m proud this new facility will lead by example.”

Both he and the hospital said it was the largest in world.

“At Ichilov, I am happy to provide the residents of the State of Israel with the largest and most advanced emergency room of its kind,” he said at the ceremony.

“We checked thoroughly and according to all our findings and according to everything we found the new emergency room, standing at 8,000 square meters, is the largest in the world,” said hospital spokesman Avi Shushan.

Lapid said in a speech: “This emergency room combines the very best the State of Israel has to offer — our incredible human capital that produces the best doctors, nurses and medical teams in the world, and the technology of the high-tech nation that equips them with the most advanced tools in order to fight for our health.”

The opening of the new emergency room at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center on Thursday, 28 July, 2022. Cutting the ribbon, from left to right, are President Isaac Herzog, Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz, Sourasky CEO Prof. Ronni Gamzu, and Prime Minister Yair Lapid. (Kobi Gideon/ GPO)

The high-tech nature of the new facility is clear upon arrival. Patients who are well enough will check themselves in and then move to “self-triage,” where automated systems will check their temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and blood oxygen saturation. Results will go straight into the hospital computer system, and if patients are at high risk, staff will be alerted immediately.

Mobile robots will help patients find the department they need, and an app will tell them exactly what is happening with their tests, results, and treatment.

The self check-in at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center’s new emergency room (courtesy of Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center)

The hospital stretches the definition of emergency care to include various departments that don’t normally feature in Israeli ERs. There are professional advisers in the fields of cardiology, neurology, and skin and sexual health.

Prof. Ronni Gamzu, CEO of Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, commented: “Our emergency room treats complicated cases on a large scale and therefore the challenge of providing outstanding service is significant. We are determined to meet this challenge and to prove that it is possible to demand and to receive quick, outstanding treatment even during busy periods.”

He said that the new facility heralds a “medical and technological revolution.”

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